In 2002, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a class-action lawsuit known as Turkmen v. Ashcroft that was later dismissed by a federal court in 2013. The suit claimed former Justice Department and law enforcement officials violated the rights of individuals perceived as Arabs or Muslim in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
According to Turkmen v. Ashcroft, over 700 men were detained on immigration charges involving overstaying visas or working without legal permits. According to the suit, the arrests were part of the FBI’s “hold-until-cleared policy” and allowed the men to be held for between three to eight months in New Jersey and New York where they reportedly suffered abuse.
Claiming lack of evidence indicating government officials had “intent to punish” any of the men rounded up and detained for months on immigration charges alone, the federal court ignored the fact none of the 726 individuals had ever been involved in any terrorism-related activity.
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