Community Leaders Meet with TSA National Leadership:
On Monday, March 13, 2023, the American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) joined a group of local community leaders in an open discussion with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) representatives. The meeting was per the invitation of US Senator Gary Peters, Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Administrator David P. Pekoske, Transportation Security Administration, was the anticipated guest but was unable to attend.
TSA representatives included guests from the DHS Office of Civil Rights and the TSA DHS-Trip Redress Office. Among several other guests was Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. The meeting was held at HYPE facility in Dearborn Heights. Mayor Bill Bazzi was present to welcome the guests and thank Senator Peters for his efforts.
The discussion focused on the TSA policies and regulations at airport ports of entry. Participants highlighted the ongoing challenges that many members of the community continue to deal with during travel. Referral for secondary inspection is a very common practice during domestic or/and international travel that many Arab or Muslim citizens continue to face despite efforts to resolve and address the issue over the years.
The community leaders in attendance urged the TSA to review, reassess and reevaluate its current redress procedures. The security measures, including a massive no-fly list, taken after 9/11 disparately impacted Arab and Muslim American travelers and many continue to deal with unresolved issues. The experience for many travelers is travel inconvenience that makes traveling very unpleasant.
TSA officials expressed commitment to continue addressing the concerns raised. TSA offered in-person mobile DHS-Trip, Redress sites in order to help those impacted to address these issues.
In addition, both Senator Gary Peters and TSA officials welcomed the community leaders’ suggestion to organize a future community event to grant people the opportunity to share their experience. All stakeholders pledged to continue the dialogue and the discussion. The community appreciates Senator Gary’s ongoing efforts to keep the constructive engagement with TSA and other DHS agencies as well. All thanked TSA leadership for their openness and their active engagement with the community.
“Thank you for your support and partnership to better community relations. You have our commitment to continue to make strides and provide the redress that the community expects and deserves.” Said Bill Byrne, Acting Federal Security Director, Michigan.
“The meeting was part of the engagement efforts of AHRC with law enforcement at all levels,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “We believe that dialogue is important to dispel misconceptions and build understanding and trust,” continued Hamad. “We commend Senator Peters for his leadership,” added Hamad. “We appreciate that TSA is one of the federal agencies that has kept its active engagement with the community and remains committed to addressing our concerns,” concluded Hamad.