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Urgent Support Needed for LA CHIRLA: Another INS raid at LAX!!!

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    Another INS raid at LAX Date: 10/9/02 4:42:34 PM Pacific Daylight Time From: mpayes@chirla.org (Mayron Payes) Another INS RAID AT Los Angeles AIRPORT Today
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11 2:53 AM
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      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
      Staff Writers

      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
      were white.

      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
      personnel field.

      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
      minimum wage.

      "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
      U.S. residents.

      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-
      of-color industry."

      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 requirement
      is "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
      pointed out.

      "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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