A travel app created by the Sikh Coalition to keep an eye on alleged racial profiling by TSA workers has been updated following claims that the Department of Homeland Security has not been dealing with complaints properly. Staff at airports have allegedly been pulling over some travelers based on their appearance—with those wearing turbans or other head coverings especially being subjected to extra scrutiny.
Last year, over 150 complaints were registered on the FlyRights app after it was created in April 2012. The DHS, however, claims that just nine complaints were received by the end of the fiscal year in 2012—three of them in regard to alleged racial profiling.
Amardeep Singh is cofounder of the Sikh Coalition, and says that for every four trips he makes by plane, he is pulled over on average three times. "Talk about reinforcing negative stereotypes," said Singh, "the government itself is targeting the object that folks are most fearful about—the turban."
Singh, who calls the news "troubling," says that the app will now forward each complaint registered to the traveler's House member and both their Senators, as well as logging a running total of how many complaints are registered at each airport, in order for air passengers to bypass airports where they fear they might be pulled over. In its first iteration, FlyRights, which was created in coordination with the TSA, allowed travelers to complain to the Sikh Coalition and the TSA.
[Image: Flickr user Tom Maisey]