Boston just designated June the official Immigrant Heritage Month, but even assimilated immigrants face routine struggles that the city — and nation as a whole — have failed to adequately address. For many, the airport is a place where legal U.S. citizens are made to feel like second-class citizens. 

Basim Usmani, who in addition to being a second-generation Muslim immigrant is also a member of Pakistani-American punk band The Kominas, was sick of being detained for upwards of five hours each time he tried to fly back into the U.S. So he wrote a song about it, and premiered it on Boston Public Radio's Friday show.

"The first time I was detained, I was coming back from Toronto around Christmas Eve of 2013," Usmani said. "I was coming back to Detroit to have Christmas dinner with my family." Instead, Usmani said he spent his holiday with Homeland Security. 

"This was the first time something like this had ever happened to me, but it was something I heard about from so many friends of mine," Usmani continued. "I don't want to say it's normalized, but it was something I always thought could happen eventually." Usmani's experience was likely symptomatic of a larger problem: In 2012, TSA officers at Logan Airport wrote open letters claiming that the management encouraged racial profiling. 

In the decade after 9/11, reporting of anti-Islamic bias has grown by more than 1,600 percent, the FBI found in 2012, making it the second highest reported religious-based hate crime. Since the Boston Marathon Bombings, Boston area Muslim citizens are mostly divided on whether or not "Islamaphobia" has increased, though in the day(s) immediately following the attacks some locals of Middle Eastern descent were harassed before the two Muslim suspects had even been identified. 

Part of the problem, Usmani said, is that there is often little a person can do when he or she feels unfairly targeted at security checkpoints. Under law, a person suspected of carrying illegal or dangerous objects must comply with authorities' requests to interrogate the subject and confiscate their personal items.  "The only real recourse available is you can take down the [TSA agent's] name and phone number, and file a complaint." 

Either way, the fact that an American citizen can expect to be on the receiving end of so much distrust and bigotry when it comes to something as routine as travel is unacceptable to Usmani, who wrote about his experiences in a recent Op-Edthat was published in The Boston Globe.

"America's border-patrol system, which has exponentially bloated and gotten more compartmentalized since 9/11, is outdated. If there is something that needs to be 'innovated,' it's that," he wrote.

To hear the rest of the interview on Boston Public Radio and The Kominas' new track, click below:  

BPR_-_BASIM.mp3