Muhammad Ali's son, who bears the boxing great's name, was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion in what amounted to unconstitutional profiling, a loved ones pal stated Saturday.
Returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were pulled aside and separated from each and every other on Feb. 7 at the immigration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, mentioned Chris Mancini, a family buddy and lawyer.
Camacho Ali was released a quick time later after showing a photo of herself with her ex-husband, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mancini stated. But Ali Jr. was not carrying a photo of his world-popular father — a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ali Jr., 44, who confirmed his Muslim faith, was detained about two hours, despite telling officials that he's Ali's son and a native-born U.S. citizen, Mancini said. It was the 1st time Ali Jr. and his mother have ever been asked if they're Muslim when re-getting into the United States, he said.
"From the way they had been treated, from what was mentioned to them, they can come up with no other rational explanation except they fell into a profiling program run by customs, which is made to obtain facts from any one who says they are a Muslim," Mancini said in a phone interview. "It really is pretty clear that what triggered his detention was his Arabic name and his religion."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage confirmed Saturday evening that Ali Jr. was held for questioning by customs officers, but stated "it wasn't simply because he's a Muslim and it wasn't because of his Arabic-sounding name."
The agency said in a statement that its officers procedure additional than 1.2 million international travelers each day with "vigilance and in accordance with the law." It said it does not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
"We treat all travelers with respect and sensitivity," the agency said. "Integrity is our cornerstone. We are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles."
For the duration of his detention, Ali Jr. was asked repeatedly about his lineage and his name, "as if that was a pre-programmed question that was aspect of a profile," Mancini said.
Ali Jr. and his mother have been frequent global travelers. The loved ones connects their remedy to President Donald Trump's efforts to restrict immigration immediately after calling in the course of his campaign for a ban on Muslims getting into the U.S.
"This has never happened to them just before," Mancini stated. "They're asked particularly about their Arabic names. Where they got their names from and no matter if they are Muslims. It does not take significantly to connect those dots to what Trump is carrying out."
Camacho Ali and Ali Jr. live in Florida. They have not traveled abroad given that, and are contemplating filing a federal lawsuit, he stated.
Asked why the matter was just now coming to light, Mancini mentioned: "Khalilah had prior commitments as did I and when she ultimately got in to see me for a legal opinion of what they did, I brought it to the media right away."
Ali, the three-time heavyweight champion and humanitarian, died last June at age 74 soon after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. Persons lined the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, to say goodbye to the city's most celebrated son prior to a star-studded memorial service watched worldwide.
This story has been corrected to "his" not "the" in border protection spokesman's quote.
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