ADC Welcomes District Court Decision on No Fly List Case
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Washington, DC | www.adc.org | June 26, 2014 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes the United States District Court in Oregon decision in Latif et al., v. Holder, holding that the United States government’s procedures for persons challenging their inclusion on the ‘No Fly List’ as unconstitutional and a violation of the Fifth Amendment Right to Due Process. Currently, individuals can only submit a request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Traveler Redress Inquiry Program regarding why they are prohibited or unable to fly. DHS merely responds with a generic letter, not acknowledging whether or why the person is on the ‘No Fly List’ or not, and why they were denied boarding to fly.
The U.S. District Court found that the current procedures do not provide persons with sufficient notice, a meaningful opportunity to be heard and/or dispute their inclusion on the ‘No Fly List’ as required by Due Process. The U.S. District Court holding requires the U.S. government to create and implement procedures in accordance with Due Process. ADC urges the United States government not to appeal this decision and immediately implement efficient non-discriminatory motivated procedures in accordance with Due Process.
While ADC welcomes the decision of the United States District Court, the holding is limited and only a first step in rectifying the violations of thousands of United States citizens’ rights. One, the United States District Court’s opinion still provides a crutch and/or loophole for the U.S. government to claim undue risk to national security, to prevent disclosure of a person’s status and/or reasoning for placement on the ‘No Fly List’. This loophole can make any new procedures implemented ineffective to protect the right to Due Process, which the Court holds is required.
Second, all United States citizens, well beyond the 13 plaintiff’s named in the case, should have the opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the ‘No Fly List’ before a judge. Not only is the fundamental right to Due Process at stake, but also are the fundamental rights to Equal Protection of the Laws and the Right to Travel. Any other informal hearing or due process procedures outside of a court room are inefficient to protect these Constitutional rights. Thus the United States District Court’s ruling that the U.S. government is required to provide the 13 plaintiffs’ with the reasoning for their inclusion on the ‘No Fly List’ and these plaintiff’s right to challenge their inclusion on the ‘No Fly List’ before the District Court judge should be expanded to all.
ADC will continue to work with the appropriate government agencies on ‘No Fly List’ cases. Due to the efforts and advocacy of ADC, the DHS-Office of Inspector General opened an investigation into TSA’s ‘Selectee Passport List’. The implementation and procedures of the ‘Selectee Passport List’ are more than likely similar and linked to the procedures and placement of persons on the ‘No Fly List.’
Since its inception ADC has dedicated itself to defending civil rights, and will continue to do so. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact ADC at 202-244-2990.
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