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Rep. Chu Responds to TSA Retraining Following Racial Profiling Complaints

August 24, 2012
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32) released the following statement in response to news that the Transportation Security Administration is retraining some employees in the wake of racial profiling allegations at Boston’s Logan Airport:

“Time and again, we hear from the TSA that they don’t profile based on race or religion – however, reports from travelers suggest otherwise.  The reports of racial profiling in Boston, Honolulu, and Newark raise questions about TSA’s methods.  And as a Member of the Judiciary Committee, I have heard firsthand the anguished accounts of Sikh Americans who were pulled out of lines at airports for additional screening just because they were wearing a turban, where even their babies were searched.  This mistreatment only reinforces common stereotypes of turbaned or bearded individuals as being ‘suspect’.

“This behavior is utterly appalling.  That’s why I wrote letter after letter to the TSA Administrator demanding action.  When he and I met in person, I made clear in no uncertain terms that discrimination of all kinds is wrong, and racial profiling is ineffective in protecting the American people.

 “I am glad to see that the TSA has taken this first step to rectify their treatment of travelers across this country.  But it is just that – a first step.  It is by no means conclusive, and falls short of complete elimination of the racial and religious profiling of travelers.”

Since her election, Congresswoman Chu has consistently fought against racial profiling at our nation’s airports.  She has written to and met repeatedly with TSA Administrator John Pistole, urging the elimination of these discriminatory practices.  Despite her efforts, and the efforts of numerous community and grassroots organizations, recent news reports have highlighted a prevalence of racial, ethnic, and religious profiling at our nation’s airports, particularly against Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans who are being disproportionately targeted for “random screenings”.  Rep. Chu has worked closely with the Sikh community to help them overcome the discrimination they are faced with through racial profiling.