Rights groups object to terror profiling

Aug. 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM
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DETROIT, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- A new program by the U.S. Department of Justice targeting Muslim men of Arab descent for surveillance is unconstitutional, civil rights groups say.

The new "terrorist profile," set to be unveiled as early as this week, is meant to keep tabs on such men who frequently travel abroad and maintain extensive international contacts, the Detroit News reported Monday.

Under the measure, the men may be subject not only to stops at the U.S.-Canadian border, but also to wider investigations that could include electronic surveillance and detentions, whether or not they are suspected of wrongdoing, the newspaper said.

"What is dangerous is that they've moved away from reasonable suspicion of criminality into the area of what they are calling suspicious behavior," Michael German, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the newspaper. He said the group is preparing legal challenges to the initiative.

"Our people contribute economically and culturally in all aspects of American life, and this is like a slap in our face," said James Allen of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Detroit.

The guidelines won't circumvent constitutional limitations on the use of race, a Justice Department spokesman told the News.

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