U.S. Border Screening Under Fire – Report released today by the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
In a report to be released today, the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco cited more than 40 complaints from U.S. citizens and immigrants that it has received since 2007 as evidence of “a much wider pattern of profiling and discrimination at U.S. borders.”
“Many people in America’s Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern communities have come to expect harassment and discriminatory treatment at our nation’s doorstep” when returning home, the report said.
Separately, Muslim Advocates, the advocacy arm of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, issued a report saying that citizens should not be threatened with detention for not answering questions that go beyond establishing their legal status to enter the United States or whether they are carrying contraband.
The actions come as civil liberties groups press for a swifter response by the new Democratic president and Congress to long-standing complaints that security measures adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have subjected innocent travelers to unwarranted delays and scrutiny.
Over the years, watch-list mismatches have entangled countless individuals whose names are similar to those on the government’s master database of terrorism suspects, which includes more than 1 million names and aliases used by 400,000 people.
“People think watch lists have been fixed and the problem has gone away. They haven’t gone away, they’ve been institutionalized, and it’s going to take affirmative action by the Obama administration to fix this stuff,” said Christopher Calabrese, counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s technology and liberty program.
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