UNITED SIKHS
December 27 2009
14th Poh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi)
Press Release

Are you Travelling in bound to the United States. What does it mean to YOU?

New York, NY, Dec 26, 2009: Your safety is our priority.  Passengers flying from International locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place.  Since the recent airport high alert on all in-bound flights to the United States, you will find that you are being screened for turbans at the airports and maybe profiled.  Additionally due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in.

Passengers travelling internationally could see:

  1. Increased security screening at gates and when they check their bags, as well as additional measures on flights such as stowing carry-ons and personal items before the plane lands.
  2. Expect delays on US-bound flights. Keep in mind this is a holiday season and the busiest time of the year.
  3. US-bound flights have been restricted for one carry-on item.

Sikh passengers have been known to be targets for increased security checks and associated harassments worldwide. Recently, a Sikh passenger was harassed in Poland during a security procedure at the airport without any justified reason.

We are seeing an increased number of cases where Sikhs returning from Pakistan after a visit to the Sikh shrines have to undergo excessive screening,  delays and harassment at the US airports on in bound flights.  This screening then becomes a pattern under which they get  screened/harassed and delayed following on every International flight in bound to the United States of America.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement Saturday that passengers flying to the U.S. from overseas may notice extra security. However, she said "the measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere."

UNITED SIKHS is closely monitoring complaints of harassment from Sikh passengers for International in-bound flights and will take the issues on a case by case basis with the TSA and Department of Homeland Security. For this we need your help and request you to report your experience at all International Airports by filling in the form available at: http://unitedsikhs.org/exp-at-americanairports

Report all Turban (dastaar) related harassment experiences at the USA airports or International airports at  http://unitedsikhs.org/turban_screening

If you feel that you have been racially profiled, if in the USA, please call us at:
1-888-243-1690 or from outside the USA at 001-646-688-3525. You can write to us at law@unitedsikhs.org

Resources for Travellers:

  1. Helpful Hints for Holiday Travellers: http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/civilrights/travelers.shtm
  2. Flight Delay Information- Air Traffic Control System Command Center: http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp (Check with your airline if your flight is affected here.Information on wait times at security checkpoints is available here.)
  3. Department of Homeland Security’s Traveller Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/redress/index.shtm
  4. TSA Claims management Branch: Department of Homeland http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/claims/index.shtm
  5. Airport Checked Baggage Guidance Material: http://www.tsa.gov/research/checked_baggage_material.shtm
  6. Civl Rights for Travellers  (Office of Civil Rights and Liberties): http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/civilrights/travelers.shtm
  7. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
    1. Overview: http://www.tsa.gov/research/foia/index.shtm
    2. Department of Homeland Security FOIA: http://www.dhs.gov/xfoia/editorial_0579.shtm
    3. United States Coast Guard FOIA: http://www.uscg.mil/global/foia.asp
    4. United States Secret Service: http://www.treas.gov/usss/foia.shtml
For an earlier press-release on this issue read: http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-14-12-2009-00.html


Issued By:

Legal Coordinator - West Coast
Amardeep Singh
Phone: 646-315-3909/408-838-2264
Email: law-usa@unitedsikhs.org

 
Keep in Mind
1) Report your  Turban  (Dastaar) related harassment experiences on all in-bound  and local flights in or to USA at http://unitedsikhs.org/turban_screening

2) If you are continuously harassed on all US inbound international flights, immediately  do the following-

a) Apply for a DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS Trip) by filing a complaint at: http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1169676919316.shtm

b) Report your experience at  http://unitedsikhs.org/exp-at-americanairports

3) The original and revised Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Guidelines can be read at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/FAAGuidelines.pdf

4) Travel  Screening procedures are available at the UNITED SIKHS website at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/turbanscreening/TSA-KYR.doc

Contact Us

To Contact UNITED SIKHS, please visit: www.unitedsikhs.org/contact.php

OUR MISSION

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.