July 19, 2011 (Washington, DC) – Last week, representatives of the Sikh Coalition, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), and UNITED SIKHS met with the head of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Administrator John Pistole, as well as other TSA officials, to highlight the discriminatory screening of Sikhs at American airports. The meeting was led and made possible by Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Representatives of the offices of Congressman John Conyers (MI-14) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18) were also present to support the Sikh community. Click here to read our joint memorandum to the TSA Our organizations offer gratitude to the offices of Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman John Conyers, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee for their support of civil rights, as well as to TSA Administrator Pistole and other TSA officials for their willingness to listen to and address the Sikh community’s concerns. TSA officials pledged to examine the issues raised by the Sikh advocacy organizations, including the status of the current secondary screening policy; the impact of a new risk-based screening policy on Sikh travelers; the screening of Sikh children who wear patkas; updates to cultural sensitivity trainings; and improvements to the TSA complaint process for travelers who are mistreated.
We will continue to insist that TSA adopt a fair and equitable screening policy for all travelers, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. In the meantime, if you suffer unfair treatment at an American airport, please contact one of our organizations for assistance.