A civil rights group is suing to force the release of documents that plaintiffs say might prove federal agents illegally discriminated against Arab-Americans and Muslims during a massive immigration sweep in 2004.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee filed the suit in federal court on Tuesday against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its sub-agency US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Committee is demanding immediate disclosure of records detailing the national origin, ethnicity, race, religion and gender of 237 people detained by federal agents during the 2004 so-called "October Plan."
According to an ICE press release, the initiative was "designed to locate immigration status violators who may pose an elevated criminal or national security threat."
The Anti-Discrimination Committee argues that DHS and ICE may have illegally used the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) to detain suspects. NSEERS is an interrogation and data-gathering program created in 2002 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. It requires men from predominantly Muslim countries to submit to fingerprinting, photographing and questioning when entering the United States. [Link]
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