Skip to main content

MJC represents Muslim Advocates in lawsuits seeking information about privacy and profiling abuses at U.S. borders and airports

WASHINGTON – The MacArthur Justice Center has filed a pair of federal lawsuits seeking court orders that would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release information about how federal officials have treated Muslim travelers, as well as those perceived to be Muslim, at U.S. borders and airports. 

 The lawsuits were filed on behalf of Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights legal advocacy and educational organization, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  The complaints filed highlight the numerous recent reports of individuals who are or are perceived to be Muslim having their electronic devices searched while travelling or having their Trusted Traveler status revoked without explanation. One lawsuit demands that DHS officials release information about the searches of travelers’ phones and electronic devices, and the other lawsuit seeks information about DHS officials revoking individuals’ Trusted Traveler program memberships.

 The suits come almost two months after Muslim Advocates and the MacArthur Justice Center filed expedited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with DHS in early March.  To date, DHS has failed to produce any documents or information in response to those FOIA requests.

 “Airports and borders are not Constitution-free zones, and no one should be targeted or profiled simply because of what they look like or assumptions by federal officials about their religious practice,” said Johnathan Smith, legal director for Muslim Advocates.   “DHS can’t continue to stonewall reasonable inquiries into their actions.” 

 “There is serious reason to believe that DHS is using its official power to discriminate against Muslim people or people they perceive to be Muslim.” said Amir Ali, Supreme Court and Appellate Counsel for MacArthur Justice Center’s Washington, DC, office.  “Getting DHS to turn over this information is the first step to understanding just how serious and prevalent this problem is.” 

View copies of the complaints:

Complaint re electronic device search
Complaint re Trusted Traveler Program

For more information about this litigation, view our case page HERE »

About Muslim Advocates

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.  As a thoughtful voice in Washington, we ensure the concerns of American Muslims are heard by leaders at the highest levels of government.  As a watchdog of justice, we use the courts to bring to task those who threaten the rights of American Muslims. Learn more at

 About the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center

Founded in 1985, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center is one of the premier civil rights law firms in the United States. The MacArthur Justice Center has offices in Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Oxford, MS, and Washington, DC. For additional information, visit



Posted in News Releases