US ADC group says US border authority should apologize to filmmaker 25Feb13 February 25, 2013

Palestine News Network     -     24 February 2013

oscar221_340_220The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Friday called on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras, for the way he was treated upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to attend the Oscars, according to a press statement.

ADC also formally requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent CBP officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel.

Immigration officials at LAX detained Burnat, his wife and 8-year-old son for 90 minutes as they arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday during which they were questioned and threatened with deportation and were allowed entry only after intervention from the motion picture academy.

ADC said Burnat told it that immigration officials did not apologize to him after his ordeal.

“No one apologized to me and my family,” Burnat said. “All they told me was: you are free to go.”

Burnat visited the United States six times last year and never faced any issues during previous visits, said ADC.

ADC President Warren David said “ADC is concerned that detaining Burnat came as a result of a recent agreement between the United States and Israel.”

Last week ADC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding that DHS-CBP provide information pertaining to an agreement between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, and the Israeli Tax Authority’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.

“ADC is inquiring about information being shared under the agreement, and whether that information is being used to racially profile Arab nationals and Arab Americans arriving to the US from abroad,” said the ADC statement.

“As we know, Customs and Border policies used by Israel are notorious for aggressive profiling techniques, often resulting in extensive secondary searches for individuals of Arab descent. Many US citizens travelling from the US to and from Israel have been forced to strip-searches, and a number of individuals have flat-out been denied entry,” it added.

The practice of using information to target Arab nationals is one used by the US government in the past.

ADC has obtained exclusive documents that show how in the 1970s the implementation of “Operation Boulder” resulted in the profiling of Arab nationals, including Arab Americans.

In another FOIA filed by ADC in 2008, results obtained show that the US government shared sensitive information about Arab nationals with other nations.

A memo obtained exclusively by ADC dated October 13, 1972 directs the US Embassy, Tel Aviv, to send telegrams to Washington, DC about Arabs residing in Israel or occupied territories visiting the United States. The telegrams contain “brief physical description, estimated date of arrival in the United States, local residence, and individual to be visited in the United States.”

The information was furnished to the FBI, and shared with other nations, said the ADC.

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