April 16, 2009
Many of Fong & Chun's immigration law clients travel frequently -- domestically and internationally. Passengers, whether in Los Angeles or elsewhere, will begin to notice the "Secure Flight" screening. Airlines will input traveler information so that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can screen each person. Airlines will begin asking not only for name, but now also date of birth and gender. TSA will match these names against the no-fly and other watch lists.
TSA states that Secure Flight is intended to protect the secret watch list data and permit security agencies to address security threats earlier -- all of which is supposed to make air travel safer. TSA claims that uing one watch list is supposed to make the screening and matching process fairer and more consistent across all airlines.
Using a single watch list also heightens the government's obligation to create and implement a fair, reviewable, "single portal" process for travelers wrongly placed on a watch list to seek redress. TSA says that its Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) will respond to anyone who feels s/he has been wrongly placed on a watch list. Anyone who is having difficulty traveling because of an incorrect entry in the watch list should immediately seek to have the error corrected -- and complain directly to elected officials if TSA does not respond quickly and appropriately. --jcf