Arab-Americans Sue U.S. Over Re-entry Procedures – New York Times

Posted: June 20, 2006 in U.S.

June 20, 2006
Arab-Americans Sue U.S. Over Re-entry Procedures

A group of Muslim and Arab-Americans, frustrated by what they say is the climate of suspicion and fear that dogs their re-entry into the United States from trips abroad, sued the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. yesterday, demanding that the courts protect their civil rights.

The seven main plaintiffs in the class action suit assert that both the United States Congress and the federal government are ignoring the plight of innocent Americans harassed repeatedly because of problems with the terrorist watch list.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Chicago by the American Civil Liberties Union, contends that the courts alone can ensure that antiterrorism policies do not repeatedly subject ordinary Americans to detention, questioning, fingerprinting and the like.

A June 2005 government review found that 42 percent of the calls to the screening center from December 2003 to January 2005 showed that the wrong person was being detained. Second, some people on the list are wrongly categorized as dangerous, resulting in agitated, armed border agents swarming them, the suit claims.

Dr. Elie Ramzy Khoury, a 68-year-old Christian who immigrated from Jerusalem in 1963 and has been an American since 1974, said he had been stopped seven times since May 2002 and now avoided even family funerals abroad because he so dreaded the return. When he complained to Homeland Security, he received a letter back two years later explaining how he could board domestic flights, which is not the issue.

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Arab-Americans Sue U.S. Over Re-entry Procedures – New York Times





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