Dec 11 2009

Complaint against TSA discrimination

Subject: National-origin discrimination in TSA “Screening Management SOP”
Date: Friday, 11 December 2009

According to the TSA Civil Rights Policy Statement:

“[T]he public we serve are to be treated in a fair, lawful, and nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to … national origin.”

However, according to Appendix 2A-2.C.1(b)(iv) of the TSA Screening Management SOP (Revision: 3, Date: May 28, 2008, Implementation Date: June 30, 2008), as posted at, and as we have discussed [on our website]:

“If the individual’s photo ID is a passport issued by the Government of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, or Algeria, refer the individual for selectee screening unless the individual has been exempted from selectee screening by the FSD or aircraft operator.”

As applied to dual U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents from these countries traveling domestically within the U.S., this provision of the SOP imposing “selectee screening” (more intrusive search and/or interrogation) on the overt basis of national origin is, on its face, in flagrant violation of the TSA Civil Rights Policy Statement, statutory and Constitutional obligations, and obligations of compliance with Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a treaty ratified by and binding on the U.S., and which all federal agencies have been specifically instructed to comply with by Executive Order 13107 on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties (61 Federal Register 68991).

Accordingly, the Identity Project requests that appropriate investigation, enforcement, and corrective action be taken against the agency and the personnel responsible for these illegally discriminatory procedures.

Please reply to confirm your receipt and docketing of this complaint as a complaint of a civil rights violation and a complaint of violation of the ICCPR, in accordance with Section 3 of Executive Order 13107:

“Sec. 3. Human Rights Inquiries and Complaints. Each agency shall take lead responsibility, in coordination with other appropriate agencies, for responding to inquiries, requests for information, and complaints about violations of human rights obligations that fall within its areas of responsibility or, if the matter does not fall within its areas of responsibility, referring it to the appropriate agency for response.”

We also specifically request that this complaint be included in your next report of complaints of violations of the ICCPR to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, as is required by Article 40 of that treaty.

If your office is not the office within DHS and/or TSA designated pursuant to Section 3 of Executive Order 13107 as responsible for responding to complaints of violations of human rights treaties including the ICCPR, we request that you refer this complaint to that office (in addition to your own action on this complaint of violation of domestic civil rights law), and inform us of the contact information for that office to which it has been referred and from which we can expect a response.


The Identity Project

[Since the TSA and DHS have a habit of ignoring our email, we’ve also sent¬†copies of this complaint by snail-mail.]