Minnesota Somali community facing TSA issues, no-fly list mistakes

Mistakenly being placed on a terror watch list can lead to delays and other problems for passengers at the airport.  It's been an especially big problem for the Somali community in Minnesota, but Homeland Security is working to help eliminate these issues.

A mobile team from the Department of Homeland Security visited Minneapolis to hold a mass meeting for members of the Somali community on Sunday. They were able to apply for “redress,” a process where they’re able to resolve travel screening issues including getting placed accidentally on the no-fly list.

"We thought we would bring mobile redress right to the community, take their applications, complete their applications right on the spot,” Kimberly Walton, assistant administrator of Homeland Security, said.

The Department of Homeland Security redress program is a way to get men and women off the no-fly list that should never have been on it to start. TSA data shows there were 19,500 applications for redress in the last fiscal year to resolve issues pertaining to air travel, border crossings and visas, and more.

"I think just watching over your shoulder all the time it creates so much stress,” Farton Weli, a community activist. said.

In recent years, many innocent members of the Somali community have found themselves blocked from flying -- and according to Homeland Security, it can happen to anyone.

"It only takes one similar name to create a problem for thousands of individuals,” Walton said.

Homeland Security hopes by reaching out using mobile units like these, issues can be fixed quickly. And the inconvenience of not being able to fly will be only for those who truly pose a threat.