2,500 people investigated by immigration officials as part of Operation Front Line
When federal immigration agents paid a visit to his Santa Clara workplace a month before the 2004 presidential election, the Pakistani engineer assumed they came to talk about his pending visa renewal application.
What they wanted to know, however, was what mosque he attended and if he associated with anyone who has "anti-American" views. And what prompted their attention, according to a copy of the investigation, was an incident three years earlier, in which he attracted suspicion for taking "detailed photos" of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Newly released government documents show the engineer was one of roughly 2,500 immigrants investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of Operation Front Line, a 2004 probe that civil rights groups say was biased against Muslims.
An estimated 77 percent of those investigated were from predominantly Muslim countries, and none was charged with terrorism-related crimes, according to a sample of 300 cases released to civil rights groups last month after years of legal battle.
"The most striking thing about all of this is it doesn't work," said Yousef Munayyer, policy analyst at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which sought the information alongside Yale Law School's National Litigation Clinic. "The numbers show that racial profiling didn't lead to any national security-related charges." [Link]
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