The retired police chief of Greenville, North Carolina, Hassan Aden, posted to Facebook saying he was unlawfully detained by Customs and Border Protection officials despite being a U.S. citizen, the East Carolinian reported Saturday.
In the post, Aden wrote he had expected his trip to Paris to visit his mother for her 80th birthday would go like prior trips, without trouble. But instead of being greeted with "a warm smile and the usual, 'Welcome home, sir,'" Aden wrote, he was detained by a CBP officer at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport who said Aden's name was being used as an alias by someone on a watch list.
Aden said roughly 25 foreign nationals were cleared to enter the U.S. in the time he spent waiting for CBP to check his records. He wrote he informed the officer, "as he avoided eye contact, how wrong this scenario was that the only U.S. citizen, career U.S. police officer and chief of police, out of the group of detainees, was the one with the longest unreasonable detention — I was held for an hour and a half."
"I was in a room with no access to my mobile phone to communicate with my wife and family about what was happening, my movements were restricted to a chair and they had my passport," Aden continued. "And he had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge — but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion."
Aden added he has already reached out to his state's senators and reporters, writing the experience showed him that "this country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world — and its own people — in an unprecedented fashion."
In the months since President Donald Trump has taken office, CBP agents have aggressively enforced the president's immigration and border agenda. Trump plans to hire 15,000 additional border patrol and immigration enforcement officers.
In some cases, CBP have gone one step further than detaining international travelers and asked passengers on domestic flights to show identification proving their residency status, likely overstepping the bounds of their authority.