Urgent Support Needed for LA CHIRLA: Another INS raid at LAX!!!
- Another INS raid at LAX
Date: 10/9/02 4:42:34 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: mpayes@... (Mayron Payes)
Another INS RAID AT Los Angeles AIRPORT
Today Wednesday October 9, 2002 the INS conducted a raid at Terminal 1 at
the Los Angeles Airport. So far information is limited, however the raid
has been confirmed and 17 passengers are under arrested. An INS spokeperson
called "normal operation" this one more abuse to our communities.
Please come to a meeting THIS Friday October 11, 2002 at the Office of
CHIRLA, 2533 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90057
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
to discuss a political response.
Parking available at roof top of building
Note: This meeting had already been scheduled to discuss CHIRLA's week of
action, so come and participate we will have a lot to plan and act upon.
More information please contact Mayron at (213) 353-1781
Otra Redada de la migracion en el aeropuerto de Los Angeles
Ahora Miercoles 9 de Octubre de 2002, la migracion realizo otra redada en la
terminal numero 1 de Aeropuerto de Los Angeles. En este momento, la
informacion es limitada pero la redada esta confirmada y sabemos que 17
pasajeros fueron arrestados. Un representante de la migracion dijo que esta
fue "una operacion de rutina"
Le estamos invitando a una reunion para ESTE viernes 11 de Octubre de 2002
en la oficina de CHIRLA 2533 W. 3 St., Los Angeles, CA 90057 de 10:00 a
11:30 de la manana y discutiremos que hacemos para responder a esta
Nota: Esta reunion ya estaba programada para planear la semana de accion de
CHIRLA, asi que por favor venga, participe ya que tenemos bastante que
Para mas informacion contacte a Mayron (213) 353-1781
New Airport Screener Jobs Going Mostly to Whites
Diversity: Before the 9/11 attacks, minorities were a
majority of the work force. Citizenship rule, test are
By Ricardo Alonso- Zaldivar and Jennifer Oldham Times
Los Angeles Times <www.latimes.com>
September 24 2002
WASHINGTON -- The federal takeover of aviation security
is spurring a demographic shift at airports around the
country, as thousands of screener jobs in which
minorities were heavily represented increasingly appear
to be going to whites.
Statistics from the Transportation Security
Administration indicate that Latinos and Asian
Americans are finding it particularly difficult to land
the new, higher-paying federal screener positions. As
of mid-September, a majority of the 21,983 new hires
At issue are a citizenship requirement for federal
screeners and a preemployment test that the current
workers allege is discriminatory.
The TSA "is not as diverse as my expectation was," said
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), a member of the House panel
that oversees aviation security funding. "They need to
look at their hiring practices and say, 'We're coming
up short.' "
The agency, however, says it is pleased with its
efforts to hire minorities. "We're right on target, and
in some cases better," spokeswoman Heather Rosenker
said. She defended the preemployment test as an
objective assessment developed by experts in the
The TSA has yet to take over security screening at Los
Angeles International Airport, where minorities account
for an estimated 98% of the security screeners. All are
employees of private companies. African Americans make
up about half the work force; Latinos, 20%; Asians,
14%; and Africans, 14%, according to the Service
Employees International Union, which represents the
The emerging TSA security force looks substantially
different. Federal screeners are gradually replacing
private security employees in a transition that is
supposed to be completed by Nov. 19.
Nationally, whites account for 61% of the federal
screeners, while 21% are black, 10% Latino, 2% Asian
and 1% American Indian, according to TSA statistics.
This month at the St. Louis airport, African American
screeners shut down checkpoints for 10 minutes to draw
attention to their complaints that they were being left
out of the new federal jobs.
The TSA has also encountered problems hiring female
screeners. It initially set a goal that half the
workers would be women, in order to address reported
abuses by male screeners searching female passengers.
Yet only 31% of the new hires are women.
There are no figures on the ethnicity of screeners
before the Sept. 11 attacks, but a former Federal
Aviation Administration security chief said the work
force was overwhelmingly made up of minorities.
"I was in a lot of airports, and it sure seemed that
way to me," said Cathal Flynn, who headed the FAA
security branch from 1993 to 2000. "I remember one of
the senior managers in the FAA saying, 'I'll know those
are good jobs when I see white guys working in them.'
He himself was black."
SEIU researcher Robert Masciola agreed. "At the top 100
airports, which employed 80% of the screeners, I would
definitely say it was a majority-minority work force,"
said Masciola, who assisted in the union drive to
organize the workers at eight of the nation's largest
The new TSA jobs pay $23,600 to $35,400 a year, plus
benefits. The private security screener jobs often paid
"This is not the same job," said Elizabeth Kolmstetter,
a TSA official who oversees training standards for the
new work force. "The job screeners knew previously is
not the same job TSA is putting out there. We need a
work force that can keep up with change."
Many of the job requirements were set by Congress and
cannot be changed by the TSA, said Rosenker, the
For many Latinos and Asians, a key barrier to TSA
employment is that Congress required the agency to
recruit only U.S. citizens. Other federal agencies--
including the Defense Department--do not have to apply
such sweeping citizenship rules. About 31,000
noncitizens are on active duty in the armed forces,
enough for a couple of Army divisions. Legally, none of
them could be a federal airport screener. An amendment
pending in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.), would waive the citizenship
requirement for current screeners who are permanent
Another barrier, say union officials at LAX, is a
battery of preemployment tests that includes a ninth-
grade-level English exam.
Of 120 LAX screeners who recently volunteered to take a
practice English test, all flunked. Union organizers
said they're concerned about the relevance of the exam
to a screener's job.
"What's getting a lot of people is the diction, which
is very subjective," said Javier Gonzalez, an SEIU
organizer. "This is currently predominantly a people-
National civil rights organizations complain that the
TSA has not done enough to reach out to minorities.
"We've been extremely frustrated, because we've had a
couple of meetings with TSA about the need to do some
targeted advertising, and we have not gotten much in
the way of cooperation," said Karen Narasaki, executive
director of the National Asian Pacific American Legal
"I think it's important for the employees to look
diverse, because that will take away from the
stereotype that the people doing the searching are all
going to be white and the people being searched are
going to be people of color," she added.
Responded Rosenker: "Our advertising schedule shows we
are in ethnic publications."
At LAX, new federal security director David Stone has
been adamant that he wants to retain as much of his
current work force as possible.
"My current screening force is my family," Stone said
at a recent orientation meeting in which he explained
the hiring process. Screeners now at LAX are employed
by private companies under contract to the federal
"You're the ones protecting us day in and day out,"
Stone told the screeners. "I desperately want to retain
every one of you."
He faces long odds. At least 40% of the 1,200 current
screeners are not U.S. citizens, ruling them out as
candidates for the federal work force.
>From a security standpoint, the citizenship requirementis "strange," said former FAA official Flynn. At
overseas airports--where the terrorist threat is
generally acknowledged to be higher--U.S.-bound
passengers are routinely screened by foreigners, Flynn
"Overseas, including in places like the Middle East, we
have to rely on foreign nationals as screeners, and
their backgrounds are checked by foreign governments,"
Flynn said. "It is strange that we have this insistence
on U.S. citizens, but we're only doing it in the United
Citizenship appears to be only one dimension of the
"A citizenship test by itself should not justify a low
number of Latinos," said Cecilia Munoz, vice president
of the National Council of La Raza. "Roughly 60% of
Latinos are born here."
Union representatives, who spent three years organizing
screeners at LAX, allege that the TSA exam and its
English test are discriminatory. Lower-income
minorities will be replaced with middle-class retirees
and law enforcement officers, they allege.
"We are concerned with what's happened at other
airports--the drastic demographic shifts," said Maria
Loya, director of public policy for the Los Angeles
Alliance for a New Economy. "We definitely wouldn't
want to see this happen at LAX. The majority of current
screeners are coming from communities that are very
While Congress mandated that federal screeners be
proficient in English, it left it up to the TSA to
decide how best to accomplish that.
Other federal agencies do not employ such a
standardized English test, said Rusty Asher, a
spokesman for the federal Office of Personnel
Management. Instead, they check employment and
educational history, and interviewers then make a
judgment about whether a job candidate has the needed
oral and written English skills.
The TSA test requires job candidates to read at the
ninth-grade level or higher, said Stone, the agency's
security director at LAX.
Dan Wagner, a literacy expert at the University of
Pennsylvania, said that requirement is too high for
most people who are not native speakers.
"The average reading level of adults in the United
States is eighth- to 10th-grade," Wagner said. "If you
look at people who are not native speakers, I would
guess that level would be two grades lower."
English proficiency requirements for becoming a citizen
are much less stringent, Wagner added. "By having a
high English requirement, [the TSA] may be cutting out
some people who could be quite adequate at the job of
security," he said.
The TSA adopted the requirement after considerable
study, said agency official Kolmstetter. Screener
positions are now considered technical positions, not
blue-collar jobs. "It is a skilled work force reading
requirement, as opposed to an unskilled work force,"
she said. "There is a lot more reading required on the
Stone and officials at the Los Angeles city agency that
operates LAX are offering English classes for current
screeners in the hopes of boosting their chances.
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