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Can Muslim Immigrants Imprisoned After 9/11 Sue?

By Peek & Toland on January 18, 2017

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many immigrant Muslims and other Arabs were rounded up, arrested and detained. Now immigrants imprisoned are seeking justice in the highest court of the land.

It has taken more than 15 years but immigrant Muslims imprisoned after 9/11 will have their case heard in the highest court of the land.

In October, The U.S. Supreme Court said it would decide whether Arabs, Muslims and other immigrants who were rounded up immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks can sue former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials for violating their civil rights.

immigrants imprisoned after 9/11 sue the authorities

Last year FindLaw reported on how the Second Circuit ruled the immigrant Muslims and others could sue Ashcroft, an attorney general under President George W. Bush, and other officials in his administration for violating their constitutional rights.

A class action lawsuit was filed by a group of former 9/11 detainees. It claimed Ashcroft and fellow officials set up a discriminatory policy of arresting and detaining Muslims and Arabs and kept them in poor conditions. Many of them were immigrants.

The lawsuit claimed that after the attacks on New York and Washington DC, officials implemented a “hold-until-cleared” approach that meant non-citizen Muslim or Arab men who had violated their visas and fell under suspicion could be detained. It made no difference whether they legitimate suspects or not.

The class action lawsuit was brought by eight men who were held for up to eight months while they were never viewed as serious suspects. They were kept in a detention center with tiny cells and confined for 23 hours a day with little food in degrading conditions, they claimed.

The immigrants imprisoned after 9/11 said they were abused by the guards, their sleep was interrupted and they were strip searched. The court said the suffering endured by the detainees because they were “caught up in the hysteria of the days following 9/11 is not without a remedy.”

As well as Ashcroft, the case was brought against former FBI Director Robert Mueller, then-Immigration and Naturalization Service Director James W. Ziglar, and several prison wardens.

At Peek & Toland , we work with immigrants on jail release issues. We are well aware of how people from other countries are often discriminated against because of their background or their religion and views.

If you feel you have been discriminated against or need help with jail release in Texas, contact us here today.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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