The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report requested by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on how the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can eliminate the potential for discrimination in travel screenings. Peters originally requested the report in 2020 after Michiganders, including members of the Arab American and Muslim American communities, shared reports of persistent and potentially discriminatory enhanced screening practices. The report found that while TSA has taken steps to address this issue, the agency must improve the collection and tracking of data on incidents of potential discrimination during secondary travel screenings at airports, as well as improve information about how to file complaints. This will help inform training, procedures, and other efforts to prevent these intrusive and often unnecessary secondary screening processes. The report also found that TSA must implement a better system to track, monitor and address complaints of discrimination from travelers.
"Communities in Michigan -- including our Arab and Muslim American communities -- continue to face lengthy and intrusive screening when traveling. This report shows that while TSA is making progress, they must step up their efforts to prevent potential discriminatory screening practices that can affect families, businesses, and even people's ability to enjoy their family vacations," said Senator Peters. "The recommendations provided by this report will help me continue to hold TSA accountable, and support their efforts to secure our transportation system while upholding the civil rights and liberties of all travelers."