Ed Hasbrouck on TSA’s Latest Idiocy

I very rarely quote entire entries from other blogs for copyright reasons, and because I think if folks write it, let them enjoy the traffic. But I’m making an exception here because it’s a tale of the sort of petty stupidity and tone-deafness to justice that just makes my blood boil (and because I know Ed Hasbrouck will forgive me…). So everything below the line is by him, not me.

The Practical Nomad blog: How the USA honors the memory of M.L.K., Jr.: It’s a national holiday today in the USA in honor of the birth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So what stirring story of the progress of American freedom and racial tolerance do I wake up to?

French fury over US treatment of air staff (free registration and cookie acceptance required)

The article is worth reading in full, but here’s the gist:

It seems that the USA is now requiring a personal interview with a TSA specialist, on each arrival in the USA, for foreign-citizen airline staff born in specified countries (all of which have Muslim-majority populations) — even though they already have multiple-entry professional visas, and could be questioned and investigated as thoroughly as desired before those visas are issued.

It also seems that there are no such TSA specialis in Cincinnati, even though it is an international airport and Delta Air Lines hub, served by regular flights on Delta’s "Skyteam" marketing partner, Air France.

Since knowledge of multiple languages is one of the most important qualifications for flight attendants, and many Air France passengers are travelling to and from points beyond France in Africa, Asia, etc., it should be no surprise that many Air France flight attendants were born outside France, and are either immigrants or children of French parents born abroad.

So what has happened? According to the Telegraph (UK):

One Moroccan-born stewardess who flew into the city was prevented from leaving when officials could not conduct her interview. Instead, she was driven for eight hours to Atlanta, nearly 500 miles away, and forced to fly back to France as an ordinary passenger.

And now the TSA has issued a a new directive:

The directive … advises Air France not to use the foreign-born crew members on flights to Cincinnati because airport staff there lack the facilities needed to conduct the security interviews.

Let’s get this straight: the TSA is telling Air France to discriminate against members of its staff — French citizens holding valid proefessional visas to the USA — in assignmets to flights to the USA, on the basis of their country of birth.

If an airline or company based in the USA did that, it would constitute illegal discrimination based on national origin.

So the USA is ordering Air France to engage in discriminatory practices that would be illegal for a USA company.

Ah, but they’re French, which makes everything different, doesn’t it.

Where’s Dr. King when we need him?

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