Land of the free

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Under the Radar: Muslims Deported, Detained, and Denied on Unsubstantiated Terrorism Allegations:

Tareq Abu Fayad, a Saudi-born Palestinian national, came to the United States in February 2007 as the 24-year-old son of a U.S. citizen and a computer science student with a valid immigrant visa. However, upon arrival he was denied entry into the country; he was deemed inadmissible when customs agents at the San Francisco International Airport found “anti-American” material—consisting of, inter alia al Jazeera news stories on his hard drive and a September 11 conspiracy theory series downloaded onto his hard drive—in his possession. He has been in immigration detention ever since.

The government never alleged that Abu Fayad had taken any actions toward terrorist or criminal activity. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the government’s claim that Abu Fayad was deportable on the grounds that he is likely to engage in terrorist activity at some point in the future. In making this claim, the government relied on the following rationales: an FBI ‘expert’ on radical Islam who pointed to the materials found on Abu Fayad’s computer; the fact that Abu Fayad’s childhood mosque was led by an imam who later became a famous Hamas politician; the fact that two of his cousins were members of Hamas; and the fact that he had been assigned roommates who were members of Hamas for a brief period in college. The so-called expert did not properly account for the tenuous nature of Abu Fayad’s relationships with Hamas members, or for the fact that Hamas is the political party governing Gaza, where Abu Fayad grew up. The Court also pointed to the DHS expert’s conclusion that Abu Fayad’s computer science training, college-education, clean criminal record, and green card would make him an “exceptionally attractive target for recruitment” by Hamas. As a result, Abu Fayad has been languishing in immigration detention for more than four years (p. 12).

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