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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    U.S. Citizen and his Family Sue Homeland Security Department

    http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=49556

    U.S. Citizen and his Family Sue Homeland Security Department to End Detentions and Harassment Triggered by Misidentification on Re-Entry to U.S.

    6/28/2005 11:44:00 AM


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To: City Desk

    Contact: Edwin C. Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, 312-201-9740 ext. 305; 312-851-2832 (pager); 847-687-1129 (cell); eyohnka@aclu-il.org

    CHICAGO, June 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- After a nearly six-hour ordeal at the United States-Canada border -- during which he was subjected to unnecessary excessive force during a body search and shackled to a chair for approximately three hours while isolated from his wife and children -- the owner of a suburban Chicago computer software company and his family today asked a federal district court to order the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remedy policies that caused this, and three other unlawful detentions, because he was misidentified. Akif Rahman, a native born United States citizen, today described the May 8, 2005 detention at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel as the most harrowing and frightening example in an escalating series of detentions that began fifteen months ago. Since March 2004, Mr. Rahman was detained and questioned by DHS on five separate occasions as he re-entered the country after business or personal trips abroad. Four of the detentions lasted unnecessarily long periods of time (anywhere from two to six hours), longer than was reasonably required for determining Mr. Rahman's identity and allowing him to proceed into the United States. According to an April 2005 letter from a DHS component agency to Mr. Rahman, all of his difficulties are the direct result of an "unfortunate misidentification scenario."

    "The situation was frightening and intimidating," said Mr. Rahman in announcing the lawsuit. "I simply could not believe what was happening. I am an American citizen, simply re-entering my own country. Even after I presented multiple forms of valid identification as recommended by the Department of Homeland Security, I was handcuffed for approximately three hours and guarded like a felon for nearly six hours. The policies that caused this to happen to me or other innocent persons must be changed."

    According to the lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Mr. Rahman was improperly detained four times in the last 15 months upon his reentry to the United States from abroad. Those occasions occurred at Los Angeles International Airport in March 2004; Chicago O'Hare International Airport in August 2004; Montreal Airport in September 2004; and at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel on May 8, 2005. The May 2005 stop became a nightmare for the entire Rahman family.

    After the first few detentions, Mr. Rahman contacted several governmental agencies and filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests in order to learn why he was being subjected to these detentions and harassment. In April 2005, the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency of DHS wrote to Mr. Rahman indicating that his problem was "the direct result of an unfortunate misidentification scenario." The ICE official told Mr. Rahman that they had taken steps to correct government databases in order to address the situation and advised him to carry multiple forms of identification when traveling abroad. Mr. Rahman always carried such identification -- including a passport, driver's license and Social Security card -- when he was detained by DHS officers. Mr. Rahman's name is as universally common as "John Smith." There are hundreds and thousands of persons in the United States with a name that is similar to, or sounds like, Mr. Rahman's, and therefore would be identified for screening by the Border Patrol's computer system.

    The events at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel on May 8th make clear that ICE did not correct the misidentification problem. On that day, the Rahman family was driving home from visiting relatives in Canada. At the Tunnel, they were asked by DHS officials for identification. After reviewing the identification, the officer ordered Mr. Rahman to turn off his car and surrender the keys. Mr. Rahman was escorted from the car by multiple agents, separated from his family and detained for approximately six hours, during which he was shackled to a chair for approximately three hours, and also repeatedly kicked during a search of his person. His wife and children also were detained for six hours in a room with no food for the Rahman's two young children.

    "It simply was not necessary for DHS to detain the Rahman family for approximately six hours in order to determine Mr. Rahman's identity," said Harvey Grossman of the ACLU in announcing the lawsuit. "The DHS has stated that the detentions were the result of misidentification. Yet Mr. Rahman presented all the identification DHS said he should need to gain expeditious reentry. No law-abiding U.S. citizen should be treated this way. And, the treatment of Mrs. Rhaman and her children is inexplicable."

    The lawsuit filed on Mr. Rahman's behalf asks a federal court to order DHS to adopt polices that ensure expeditious reentry to the United States for U.S. citizens whose names are similar to those on government watch lists, and to institute adequate training and supervision to ensure that U.S. citizens are not unduly detained and harassed upon entering the United States.

    "Treating United States citizens like Mr. Rahman in this fashion is intolerable, and will do nothing to make us safer," said cooperating attorney Everett J. Cygal.

    Mr. Cygal, Paula Ketcham, and Jason Lee of the Chicago law firm Schiff Hardin LLP are assisting the ACLU of Illinois in this case.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member MopheadBlue's Avatar
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    This wouldn't happen if the man had a name like:

    Pepe Gonzales

    Jesus Garcia

    Armando Rivera

    Maria Enuncio

    Manuel Ortega

    The idiots running this country should detain and deport the above individuals but instead they harrass people like Mr. Rahman probably because he has a middle Eastern-sounding name.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    This is an unfortunate situation, but they were released and sent on their way. Mr. Rahman would have said, I believe, if it had been someone else....well the Government has to do something.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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