Friday, April 8, 2011
Terror watch lists used at the border, or at airports, have proliferated since the attacks of Sept. 11th, 2001. Sometimes people without criminal backgrounds end up on these lists; for some, it's not easy to get off of them.
SAN DIEGO Shuaib Azizi is an American citizen born in Afghanistan. He's a successful real-estate broker who often travels abroad, or across the border into Mexico to show properties in Baja California.
Four years ago, he was stopped at the U.S. border and detained for hours without explanation. The problem persisted, so he wrote many letters of complaint.
"I sent it to California Congressman Duncan Hunter, Congressman Brian Bilbray, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Diane Feinstein, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, George W. Bush, the director of the Border Patrol," said Azizi. "Everywhere that I sent this letter, I got no explanation on what would be the solution to this."
Despite the numerous complaints, he said neither state representatives nor the Department of Homeland Security have done anything to get him off the terror-watch list.
"Someone has to make an effort -- whether it's technical glitch, whatever it is -- they need to make an effort," said Azizi, browsing through his pile of his documents and letters. "Just remove it, or delete it, or whatever, because it's just not right."
Now the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into Azizi's case. He said he's not interested in a lawsuit, but in getting some answers and preventing this from happening to others.
Calls to the Homeland Security Department, and the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI went unanswered.