One very fundamental human right is to come and go freely. However, terrorism has increased limits to this rights often for the right reasons but governments tend to push limits too far. An article in Brennan Center For Justice asks, based on specific experiences, if its not time for America to put an end to its terrorist watch list. The article which speaks to our problematic and proposes that the matter be determined in a Federal Court.
On a 2004 trip from one U.S. city to another, my son evidently made it onto some kind of terrorist watchlist. Both at the airport from which we departed, and then at the one we left on the way home less than one week later, he was flagged by airline staff and then we both were questioned, briefly, by what I recall were a few official-looking, stern people. Ultimately, my son was deemed not to be a terrorist and was cleared for travel. No harm, no foul — and he had no idea what the fuss was about. He was 5 years old.
That episode was the first thing I thought about Wednesday night when the news broke that a federal judge in Virginia had struck down the government’s main “watchlist” as an undue burden on the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. I thought about my son, and about how Sen. Edward M. Kennedy famously made it onto the No Fly List around the same time, and about how so many of us way back in 2004 joked about what a “joke” the watchlists were. How incomplete, inaccurate, and rife with bureaucratic miasma and law enforcement excess.
Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, thousands of other Americans — non-terrorists, too — have been unfairly placed on these secret lists without a meaningful chance to get off them. They’ve had their travel interrupted, or worse, based on information no one beyond law enforcement has ever seen. In most cases, advocates say, those targeted have been citizens of color, or citizens who practice their Muslim faith, or those who hail from or travel to Middle Eastern countries. In many cases, they’ve been unjustly targeted.
See full story here.