The mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, who is Muslim, says he was profiled at an airport and asked by border patrol officials during his detention whether he visited any “terrorist cells” or met with any “terrorists” during a trip abroad.
Mohamed Khairullah told NorthJersey.com that he was held for hours at JFK International Airport in New York and questioned about his travels overseas.
“It’s flat-out insulting,” Khairullah said. “It’s flat-out stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs.”
“It was definitely a hurtful moment where I’m thinking in my mind that this is not the America that I know,” he continued. “I am very familiar with our laws and Constitution, and everything that was going on there was a violation.”
“While we are not at liberty to discuss an individual’s processing due to the Privacy Act, our CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they also enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of U.S. law,” a spokesperson said.
“For a miniscule number of travelers, this inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices. CBP is keeping Americans safe by enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully inspect all materials—electronic or otherwise—entering the United States,” the spokesperson added.
Khairullah told NorthJersey.com that agents told him that his questioning was part of a random stop.
His phone was also confiscated by agents who later returned it after intervention from an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR’s litigation director Ahmed Mohamed slammed CBP, accusing the agency of ignoring the need for “reasonable suspicion” to conduct searches.
“CBP believes they can do what they want at the border, but even their own policies say there needs to be reasonable suspicion to do an intrusive search of the phone,” he said.