Opinion: Don’t ever complain about being detained at the U.S. border

A woman holds her U.S. passport.
(Tetra Images / Getty Images)

To the editor: It appears that UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl is a very intelligent and scholarly academic, as he reminds us of his credentials throughout his opinion piece. (“What message was the U.S. government trying to send when it detained me at the border?” Opinion, Dec. 8)

Considering the political climate of the world, he should be able to figure out why he was, no doubt like many of us, stopped by Homeland Security agents upon reentering the United States.

Instead of dramatically complaining, El Fadl, as an American citizen, should feel relieved and secure that our border agents, though not recognizing him as a publicly important figure, did their job quickly and thoroughly and within an hour or so ascertained his proper identity.


He is correct to note that the meaning of American citizenship seems to be eroding, but for a variety of other reasons — and certainly not due to the vigilance or lack thereof of our border agents.

Louise Delaney, La Crescenta


To the editor: I was born in New Jersey. My father is a U.S. veteran. I am an attorney and adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School. I was selected to be a member of New Jersey’s electoral college in 2004. I have more than 200 international media appearances as an American Democratic analyst.

Like El Fadl, I continue to vehemently oppose terrorists who deform our religion for political ends.

In 2007, the National Democratic Institute sent me to Morocco to teach activists there about get-out-the-vote techniques used in the United States. At JFK Airport in New York, U.S. customs agents placed my passport in a red folder. In an angry tone, I told them, “I am a lawyer returning from Morocco representing my country, and I am being interrogated?”

I was cleared 30 minutes later. It happened again in 2009. Although it has not happened since, every time I return from abroad, I wonder if I will be profiled again in my own country.

Abed Awad, Wayne, N.J.

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