August 04, 2022
Strict action should be taken against officials who remove the turbans of Sikhs at the Yuma border of the United States of America. Through a letter written to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Chris Magnus, the Executive Director of the North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), Mr. Satnam Singh Chahal expressed his strong protest and said that “the serious violation of religious freedom was going on in the Yuma Border Patrol sector.” Expressing protest, he said that while your agents are confiscating turbans of Sikhs during asylum proceedings, this phenomenon is also a flagrant violation of federal law. These actions by the Border Security Patrol, while inconsistent with their own national standards, are contrary to the agency’s nondiscrimination policy, which states that Border Patrol personnel treat all persons with dignity and religious freedom. including personal rights should be treated with full respect. Chahal said in the letter addressed to the Commissioner that we request you to immediately investigate the violations of civil rights and direct agents in the Yuma Border Patrol sector to immediately stop these illegal activities.
However, more recent incidents of religious head dressing have involved only Sikhs, so this paper focuses on the issue of protests against the confiscation of Sikh turbans. However, our concern is limited to the actions of the Yuma Border Patrol sector regarding all religious titles.
Chahal further said that concerns about the confiscation of religious symbols tied on the head of Sikhs by the Border Patrol Agency is nothing new. In March 2019, it was reported that many Sikh migrants had their anklets and sacred religious symbols confiscated along with their bracelets at the border. He stated that in the most recent meeting held in Arizona on July 8, 2022, CBP Representatives of the agency claimed that the agency only confiscates turbans when they pose a safety risk and that agents only refuse to store turbans when they are worn or damaged. If there is a reason for removing a particular turban, the person may be allowed to remove it himself for inspection and may also be allowed to remove it immediately once the concern is resolved. After an initial investigation, there is no excuse for denying Sikhs the right to wear turban. Institutions with comparable safety concerns expressly authorize religious headwear, including the turban.
Chahal wrote in the letter that because the Yuma Border Patrol sector could not possibly justify its practice of confiscating and effectively banning turbans while other organizations “with the same compelling interests engage in the same religious practices are customizable
He said the Yuma Border Patrol sector’s actions against Sikh refugees are particularly serious because the ability to wear a turban is a core tenet of the Sikh religion and religious practice. Yuma authorities should stop their practice of confiscating turbans or other religious headwear. At the end of the letter, Chahal demanded that immediate and concrete steps be taken to end all such acts in Yuma and all other sectors.