TSA policies spur student debate

Security measures have been tightened for inbound flights to the United States.


Mark Vancleave


mackenzie collins

After the Transportation Security Administration tightened security measures following the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day, some students of color at the University of Minnesota are expecting a more difficult time on international flights. TSA tightened security measures for inbound flights to the United States from 14 countries with âÄúterrorism problemsâÄù and will administer increased screening of citizens from those countries following the attempted attack Dec. 25 by a Nigerian man. Fuad Hannon, president of the Al-Madinah Cultural Center âÄî a diverse University of Minnesota student group with a large Muslim population âÄî plans to visit Syria, Palestine and Jordan this summer and said he has problems with the new policies. He also expects to have problems traveling. âÄúItâÄôs unfortunate that it has come to this, and the profiling is never a good thing,âÄù Hannon said. âÄúItâÄôs going to have a lot of repercussions on ordinary Muslims trying to travel and live their lives.âÄù TSA policy targets people traveling from or through 10 âÄúcountries of interest,âÄù including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen, as well as four countries that are known to sponsor terrorism, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, according to the TSA. Some say the benefits of the new security policies may outweigh the costs. âÄúItâÄôs not that all people [of those nations] are going to or want to hurt us,âÄù Juliana Feldhacker, president of College Republicans at the University, said. âÄúItâÄôs just that if that tends to be the trend, then you should be using your resources wisely and looking at the people that are most likely to fit that description.âÄù For Aamir Mansoor, president of the UniversityâÄôs Pakistani Student Association, the policies donâÄôt feel new. âÄúI always have âÄòrandomâÄô security pat downs, but I say âÄòrandomâÄô in quotes,âÄù said Mansoor. âÄúItâÄôs interesting to me when I talk to my friends, because it always seems friends of certain backgrounds have these experiences more so than others.âÄù Mansoor said he thinks TSA should take a closer look at more than just those 14 nations. âÄúConsidering the resources our government has, you would think that they would have a filter better than 14 nations to discriminate against,âÄù Mansoor said. âÄúItâÄôs a very clear form of discrimination based on oneâÄôs ethnicity; itâÄôs racial profiling in its most basic form,âÄù Mansoor said. Hannon said that if the screening can be done in a moral and ethical way while keeping in mind the Muslim religionâÄôs beliefs, he would support the new policies. âÄúIf it can save an innocent life, that would be hard to argue with saving a catastrophe from happening,âÄù Hannon said.