The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, according to a family friend.
Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.
Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn’t as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?”
When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.
Reached for comment via email Friday, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection wrote, “Due to the restrictions of the Privacy Act, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection.”
The line of questioning is indicative of profiling and designed to produce answers that corroborate what officials want to hear, Mancini said. Neither Camacho-Ali nor Ali Jr. have ever been subjected to detainment before, despite extensive global travel experience, he said.
“To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” Mancini said, referring to President Trump’s executive order signed Jan. 27 that instituted a ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Officials at the Fort Lauderdale airport did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
Camacho-Ali and Ali Jr. live in Deerfield Beach, Fla., a 20-minute drive from the airport. While Ali Jr. was detained, Camacho-Ali ran around the airport asking, “Where’s my son?” and begging for help, according to Mancini. Because incidents involving customs officials are considered to be on federal soil, local police had no jurisdiction to help her. Ali Jr. was eventually released two hours later, and the family contacted Mancini the following day.
Mancini said he and the Ali family are contemplating filing a federal lawsuit and are currently trying to find out how many other people have been subjected to the same treatment as Ali Jr.
“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” he said. “This is classic customs profiling.”
more recommended stories
Delta says shutdown is costing $25m USD in January revenue
DALLAS (AP) — Delta Air Lines.
Museum of Pulque to open up in Mexico City
Some beverages deserve special recognition. Pulque.
Aeromexico trolls Americans with ad about debate over the wall
Aeroméxico, Mexico’s large airline, is taking.
21 dead, 71 burned in fire at illegal tap into Mexico fuel pipeline
A huge fire exploded at a.
Maya women stand out for their community
A group of women from San.
Yucatan is ready for the Mérida Triathlon 2019
“Yucatan is ready for the sixth.
Largest-ever group of migrant families tunnels under Yuma, Arizona, border fence
TUCSON, Ariz. – The largest single.
Owner of Grupo Soriana found executed in Torreón, Coahuila
Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico.-On Friday January 18th,.
Controversy over raise on Chichen Itza’s admission fee continues
“The truth is that tourists are.
Total lunar eclipse upon the Yucatán Peninsula on Sunday, January 20th, 2019
The first — and only —.