A lawsuit filed today in Federal District Court in Michigan challenges “the widespread government practice of placing names on watch lists without providing individuals with any notice of the factual basis for their placement and without offering a meaningful opportunity to contest the designation.”
According to the complaint:
This lawsuit is an expression of anger grounded in law. Our federal government is imposing an injustice of historic proportions upon the Americans who have filed this action, as well as thousands of others. Through extra-judicial and secret means, the federal government is ensnaring individuals into an invisible web of consequences that are imposed indefinitely and without recourse as a result of the shockingly large federal watch lists that now include hundreds of thousands of individuals.
These leaked documents, published by The Intercept, make clear that names can be added to “terrorism” watchlists without any individualized basis for suspicion. They also confirmed the overwhelming focus of “terrorist” watchlisting on Arab and Muslim Americans. The leaked documents don’t explicitly categorize watchlist entries by religion or ethnicity, but the correlation is strongly suggested by the fact that more people in Dearborn, Michigan, have been watchlisted than people in any other U.S. city except New York. Dearborn has only 96,000 people, but 40% of them — the highest percentage of any U.S. city — are of Arab descent. Not surprisingly in light of this pattern of watchlisting, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has played a leading role in challenges to watchlisting practices and consequences.