U.S. Senators Weigh in on TSA Turban Screening Policy

September 25, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Sikh Coalition


At the urging of the Sikh Coalition and their Sikh constituents, four Senators today sent a joint letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), demanding an explanation for the TSA’s new turban screening procedure. The letter urges the TSA to work with the Sikh-American community to address its concerns about a troubling new policy that allows America’s 43,000 TSA screeners to pull aside turban-wearing travelers for secondary screenings.

The letter, addressed to TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, was initiated by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and signed by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). This is the third Congressional letter sent to the TSA in the last two weeks that expresses apprehension about the TSA turban screening issue by our elected officials. Various members of the House of Representatives sent two such letters last week.

Citing the potential for religious profiling in today’s letter, the Senators wrote “We are concerned that this policy change could lead to disparate treatment of Sikh travelers, among others. Under the new policy it seems that travelers are being singled out for secondary screening solely on the basis of physical manifestations of their religious beliefs.”