Profiling at Airport a Reality

A special unit of airport screeners, charged with detecting suspicious behavior, engaged in racial profiling at Newark Liberty International Airport, The Star-Ledger reported on Sunday. Known as behavior detection officers, the screeners’ jobs were to observe any nervous, erratic, or evasive gestures or speech. These passengers were to be singled out for extra scrutiny. Instead, these officers focused on whether Mexican or Dominican passengers had proper visas or passports stamps, all at the direction of their managers. If not, these passengers had to undergo bag searches, pat downs, and referrals to immigration with behaviors invented by the screeners. The report indicates that this practice was widespread, lasting from early 2008 to late 2009, when investigators starting looking into the issue.