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Border Detainees to Speak at Forum

Friday, April 27, 2007 at 10:22 AM

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While a fence is being built along the U.S. - Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigration, a different sort of border dispute is happening to the north. The detention of some American citizens returning from Canada, due to post-9/11 security measures, is the basis of a public forum, taking place this weekend. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports.

A coalition of ethnic organizations, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, is questioning the accuracy of the background check databases involved, arguing that the rapid assembling of Homeland Security files has led to outdated or erroneous information being attached to the records of some people. As director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Ohio, Julia Shearson says she’s seen many examples. Shearson herself was the subject of a border detention.

Julia Shearson: We’re not talking about taking your shoes off at the airport. Clearly, all Americans care about the safety and security of their country, and they’re willing to make sacrifices to make sure we are safe. But, are we willing to go so far as to detain law-abiding citizens at the border - not for minutes, but for hours.

The Cleveland forum this Sunday is one in a series being held across the country. Several former detainees are due to speak of their experiences. The forum takes place at the AACCESS-OHIO headquarters, near West 117th and Lorain. The doors open at 5:30. David C. Barnett, 90.3.

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