TSA Watch List Project

CAIR-Chicago is seeking to outreach to the Muslim community by launching it’s new TSA Watch List Project, coordinated by civil rights intern Afia Yunus. This project seeks to look into complaints of Muslims being detained upon re-entry to the country when traveling due to their names being put on a “watch list” by the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA).

The TSA watch list calls for individuals named on that list to be put under heightened security measures and checks when traveling, which oftentimes leads to certain individuals being detained for long periods of time. An example of the types of cases reported to CAIR-Chicago regarding TSA watch lists is below:

A Muslim man has been consistently detained every time he crosses the U.S. border or boards a plane since 1996. Each time he is detained for several hours as federal agents question him and then send him on his way. The man estimates that this has happened at least 13 times in the past 9 years, each time he has traveled outside the country either by land or by air.

CAIR-Chicago is working to look into complaints of individuals who believe to be on this list, and to determine the reasons as to why they are on this list such as the cases above. Since it is not currently possible to have individuals removed from the list, the goal of the project is to eventually have the names of individuals that are on the list unfoundedly, to be moved to the safe list, so that individuals who are safe-listed may travel without such long detainments. CAIR-Chicago will also work to incorporate relevant cases as part of a class action law suit being filed against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

For more information, or to report an incident, please contact Civil Rights Coordinator, Christina Abraham, at civilrights@cairchicago.org.

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