"If you can’t sit patiently, I can gain compliance from you by putting you in a detainment cell," a CBP officer told Syed Ali when he politely asked, after about an hour and a half of waiting in a holding area, how much longer it was going to take to check his identity.
Syed Ali is a US citizen, NYPD Police officer, and former US Army major. When he arrived at JFK Airport last month after a vacation in Turkey, the last thing that crossed his mind is that he will be threathened and held in custody for hours.
"There’s no one who you would think should be able to sail through immigration at the airport more than Syed," Justin Cox, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center told The New York Times last Tuesday, adding "None of that mattered because he’s brown and Muslim. That’s what his case underlines."
"I feel like my rights were violated. Are you telling me that every guy with the last name Ali is a terrorist? Are you telling me every guy with brown skin coming in from overseas is a terrorist?" Ali said. Adding that he was subjected to secondary inspection on previous trips but had no problem with it since it was conducted politely and expeditiously: "I understand there are folks out there who might do bad things who have a name similar to mine."
The irony is that his trip to Turkey was right after the two years he spent serving in a military mission to fight ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Ali is not the first Muslim American who have faced hostile interrogation for long hours and sometimes even mistreatment at the hands of Customs and Border Protection. There have been more and more reports in the media about such cases since Donald Trump became president.
Source: The New York Times