Department of Homeland Security Announces New Security Measures to be Implemented for Air Travel
by PAAIA Legislative Office
April 8, 2010, Washington, D.C. – On April 2, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be implementing new security measures for all air carriers with international flights to the United States. According to the press release by the TSA, “These new, more flexible security protocols—tailored to reflect the most current information available to the U.S. government—will apply to all passengers traveling to the United States.”
These new measures supersede the emergency measures that were put into effect in January of 2010 following the attempted terrorist attack on December 25th, 2009. As part of those measures, individuals traveling from or through 14 designated countries, including Iran, would be subject to enhanced screening measures that could include full-body pat-downs, checking of carry-on luggage, and being subjected to fully-body scanning and explosive detection technology.
The enhanced security measures immediately drew criticism from civil rights groups who stated that such a practice constitutes racial profiling. In addition, many expressed concerns that all necessary and security directives that are strictly based on an individual’s nationality raise potential concerns that innocent individuals, including Iranian Americans and their family and friends, may be adversely and unnecessarily impacted.
On January 21, 2010, PAAIA along with the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) contacted the Department of Homeland Security expressing these concerns and seeking to gain clarification on the new security measures. On February 24, 2010, the TSA responded to our inquiry and expressed their desire to actively be engaged with the Iranian American community in order to better understand own questions and concerns.
PAAIA commends the TSA for implementing these new measures that “…are part of a dynamic, threat based process covering all passengers traveling to the United States while focusing security measures in a more effective and efficient manner to ensure the safety and security of all those traveling by air to the U.S.”. (Add line that we are 100% committed to national Security).