The federal government has announced that it will now require nationals of 14 countries to undergo enhanced screening when flying into the United States.
The announcement effectively means that was once a de facto policy of profiling has now become an official policy of profiling.
Despite TSA pronouncements that is does not engage in profiling, Sikhs knew that a de facto policy of profiling existed because at certain airports around the country, Sikhs experienced a 100% rate of secondary screening. However the announcement that certain nationals will always be subjected to extra law enforcement scrutiny based solely on their nationality, turns what was once a de facto policy of profiling into the official policy of the TSA.
Frankly, it is highly troubling that the federal government is subjecting people from these countries to added law enforcement scrutiny based solely on their country of origin and not based on any individualized determination of whether a person is of additional law enforcement interest.
Here is a list of the 14 countries whose nationals will be subject to extra scrutiny: Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Stay tuned on how the new air travel landscape post Christmas 2009 is changing and how it may affect your travels.
As always, please report your airport experience — good or bad —- here. We need this information to better inform our work with the federal government.