DHS Opening Investigation Into Religious Questioning At The Border

May 11, 2011 11:46 am

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ACLU Calls For End To Improper Questioning Of Innocent American Travelers Perceived To Be Muslim

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NEW YORK – The Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) is opening an investigation into complaints that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have inappropriately questioned travelers about their religious and political beliefs, associations and religious practices during border screening, according to a letter received by the American Civil Liberties Union. CRCL’s decision comes in response to a request for investigation that the ACLU and Muslim Advocates sent in December 2010, on behalf of five individuals who were subjected to such questioning when returning to the United States from abroad.

The ACLU and Muslim Advocates also filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with Department of Homeland Security and CBP on behalf of the five individuals for information about their treatment, as well as a FOIA request seeking records related to the questioning of U.S. citizens and legal residents at the border about their religious and political beliefs and constitutionally protected activities.

The following can be attributed to Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

“This investigation is a step in the right direction towards ending discriminatory and unconstitutional questioning of American Muslims at the border. Government agents have no business interrogating innocent Americans about something as personal as where and how they worship. This sort of intrusive questioning does nothing but waste resources, generate false leads and alienate entire communities.”

The letter from CRCL is available online at: www.aclu.org/national-security/department-homeland-security-letter-borde…

More information about the ACLU/Muslim Advocates letter and related FOIA requests is online at: www.aclu.org/national-security-racial-justice/questioning-and-searches-b…

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