Apr 20,2009 00:00
SAN FRANCISCO -- A civil liberties group says U.S. citizens of Asian and Middle Eastern origin face intrusive questioning from border agents when they return home from abroad.
In a report released Monday, the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco said it has fielded more than 40 complaints from U.S. citizens and immigrants who "faced intrusive questioning and searches at U.S. land borders and international airports."
The group said such residents are routinely racially profiled and questioned about their political views, religious practices and other lawful activities while U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers search through their books, laptop computers, private papers and other possessions.
"Many people in America's Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern communities have come to expect harassment and discriminatory treatment at our nation's doorstep" when returning home, the report said.
CBP officers rely on "bloated and mismanaged" terrorism watchlists in singling out travelers to be investigated, the Asian Law Caucus said, adding that reliance on racial profiling "distracts border officers from more relevant indicators of suspicion" and should be eliminated by law.
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