CAPAC Lauds Racial Profiling Amendment Passing Appropriations Committee

May 23, 2013 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington DC – Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill and Report which included an amendment by Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17), a senior Member of the House Appropriations Committee, requiring an investigation into racial or religious profiling by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) has repeatedly called for TSA to audit its screening practices to guard against racial and religious profiling.

“Far too many Sikh, South Asian, Muslim and Arab passengers face additional security screenings at our airports every time they fly,” said Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair. “I have heard stories that even babies have been searched. While we must have screening policies in place to keep our airports and skies safe, we must also ensure that discrimination does not occur. Racial profiling does not make us more safe.  As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have heard experts testify time and time again that racial profiling is an ineffective policing strategy.  I applaud the House Appropriations Committee for finally ensuring a full investigation is completed to ensure all policies are carried out in a neutral and non-discriminatory manner.” 

"I am proud to say that today the House Appropriations Committee approved my amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act to ensure that TSA officers respect privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties during security screenings, an issue I have been working on since 9/11,” said Rep. Mike Honda, Chair of CAPAC’s Appropriations Taskforce. “Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community -- particularly Sikh Americans, Hindu Americans, Muslim Americans, and South Asian Americans -- are particularly impacted by enhanced screenings, and this amendment will ensure we do not allow this kind of discrimination solely based on appearance.  Our nation celebrates diversity, and any kind of racial and ethnic prejudice violates our core values."

Earlier this year, CAPAC included a request for similar language on TSA screenings in its letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. A modified version of that language was included in the Committee’s report:

“The Committee is aware that TSA is conducting an internal investigation based on reported allegations that some TSA employees may have subjected passengers to secondary screening based only on the passenger’s perceived race or religion. TSA is directed to brief the Committee on the findings of that investigation not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, as well as the types of training provided to TSA officers on compliance with applicable laws pertaining to privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties, and to prevent profiling based on race or religion. This briefing shall also address any changes to TSA officer training prompted by the internal investigation.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently Chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.