The government admitted it made a mistake when it put this Stanford Ph.D. on a terror watch list. She’s still not allowed in the United States.
As the Senate debated a proposal this month that would have barred gun sales to people on the government’s terrorism watch lists, Republicans decried the lists as unfair, unreliable and un-American. “There’s no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion,” Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN. “This is not a list you can be certain of,” Jeb Bush said. Mike Huckabee asserted that some people end up on the no-fly list due to “suspicion, not necessarily even so much as probable cause.”
Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian architect with a doctorate from Stanford, knows from personal experience that they have a compelling point. Ibrahim is the only person since the 9/11 attacks to file a court challenge that ultimately removed her name from the watch lists. It took her almost a decade to prevail in court and even that victory has proved pyrrhic for her. While a federal judge agreed that her inclusion on the no-fly list was groundless, she remains unable to obtain a visa that would allow her to visit the United States even to attend academic conferences. A close look at her case by ProPublica provides dramatic evidence of what was argued this month in Washington: It is indeed remarkably easy to get on the list and nearly impossible to get off.
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