Testing an opaque protective force, Michigan man challenges ‘no-fly list’

    Business Inquiry

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    WASHINGTON – A Michigan man challenged the constitutionality of the government’s so-called no-fly list in a lawsuit Tuesday, accusing the FBI of violating his due process rights by barring him from flying, and challenging him to challenge his decision. Did not give any meaningful opportunity.

    The case, developed by the American Civil Liberties Union, opens a new front in a still unresolved confrontation between the scope of individual rights and collective security measures after the September 11, 2001 attacks: the government’s practice of putting people on watch lists of terrorism. Based on Link’s suspicion.

    Including people in such databases can lead to enhanced scrutiny at airports and during encounters with police, denying them government benefits or contracts, and in the case of a no-fly list – getting them to board a plane Or took a flight abroad to stop traveling by US airspace by planes.

    The government maintains various terrorism-related watch lists, which it uses for a variety of purposes, a practice that has gone through phenomenal growth over the past two decades. Civil libertarians have criticized the lists, including opaque standards and rationales for adding names, and the adequacy of deterrence procedures for those who oppose them.

    In the new case, the plaintiff, 32-year-old Ahmed Ahmed, is a Chicago-born Chicago-born United States citizen who spent much of his youth in Lebanon and lives in Dearborn, Michigan. Worked as informers, but he refused. He also said that he also accused him of being an agent of Hezbollah, which he denied.

    Since then, Mr. Chebli has had a lot of trouble traveling by air. He Boarding was denied for some flights to both foreign and domestic destinations; In late 2018, after being intercepted by a flight home to Lebanon, he enlisted the ACLU to help him obtain a one-time waiver so he could return to Michigan.

    Mr. Chebli’s position may change or be forgotten between different restrictions. On other occasions, they were eventually allowed to fly, but were previously forced to undergo extensive investigations and inquiries, which led to them missing their flight and having to rebook each other.

    But their attempt to get information about their designation, so they can challenge it through Homeland Security’s Travelers Redress Inquiry Program, the complaint said, has been fruitless. He It has been seeking information since 2018, it said, without success.

    “For two years, I have tried to withdraw from the no-fly list, but the government will not give me my authority for a proper process to put my name in the list or withdraw my name.” Mr. Chebli said in a statement issued by the ACLU, “Nobody should suffer what my family and I have suffered.”

    The Justice Department did not have an immediate response to the lawsuit. But it has defended the legitimacy of the government’s terrorism surveillance lists and its related practices in litigation over the past decade, arguing that the procedures are legitimate and appropriate given the national security interests at stake.

    Mr. Chebley’s case is the sequel to a major lawsuit by the ACLU during the Obama administration that challenged government procedures to review whether it was appropriate to put someone’s name on the no-fly list. In 2014, a federal judge in Oregon ruled that those rules were inadequate and violated the Americans’ Fifth Amendment to due process.

    In response, the government promised to overhaul the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program to ensure that Americans would be told if they were on the list and gave a meaningful opportunity to challenge the decision. (It removed seven of the 13 original plaintiffs in that case from the no-fly list. Several remaining plaintiffs pressured, but that judge and later the appeals court in San Francisco applied the revised procedures, as applied to them Has been done.)

    Citing the government’s inability to obtain information about the government’s evidence about itself or to challenge it at a hearing before an impartial decision maker, Mr. Chebly said the new lawsuit said the amended procedures are both unconstitutional and are a federal law Violates statutory law, including Religious Freedom, Protection of Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 1993, as it is unable to travel to Mecca for essential Muslim pilgrimage.

    “More than two years ago, Mr. Chebly filed an administrative petition for redress, but the government failed to provide any reason to put him on the no-fly list or due process to challenge that placement, “It said. “As a result, Mr. Chebly has been subjected to unreasonable and lengthy delays and an opaque redressal process that has prevented him from clearing his name.”

    Beyond the Oregon case, the new lawsuit takes its place between a constellation of related litigation that has tested the government’s counterterrorism watchdog and limitations on individual rights.

    For example, in December, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of three Muslim-American men who claim they were placed on a no-fly list for refusing to become informers. That case was commissioned whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows people to sue for monetary damages against government officials who are accused of violations. (The case of Mr. Chebli is different: He Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, not funding.)

    And in a judgment last week, Richmond, Va. A three-judge panel in the federal appeals court in the government’s use of a comprehensive watch list known as the terrorist screening database. The ruling overturned the 2019 ruling by a Federal District Court judge who overruled it in violation of the constitutional rights of Muslim-Americans.

    The Terrorist screening database is run by the FBI, although other agencies may also name people to include on it. As of 2017, approximately 1.2 million people were on the watch list; While most were foreigners, approximately 4,600 were American citizens.

    Those who are in that database are likely to be pulled aside for more rigorous screening at airports, but are generally still allowed to fly their flights further afield. But the no-fly list is a subset that are subject to more restrictive restrictions on flying in US airspace, even though their body searches, carry-on bags and luggage are nothing suspicious.

    The latest publicly available no-fly list data from the government showed nearly 81,000 people as of 2016. About 1,000 of them were US citizens or legitimate United States residents who are protected by the Constitution.

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