"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,"
- Hassan Aden, Greenville NC Police Chief (ret)
Hassan Aden has a distinguished career of service, having retired as the Greenville NC Police Chief. He now runs a consulting firm that requires him to travel extensively around the country and abroad. At the Greenville airport, his name and face are recognizable to most of the agents. Not so at JFK, where he was recently detained for 90 minutes by Customs and Border Protection agents. While their reasons for scrutinizing Mr. Aden in particular are unclear, it seems that his name, very common among Muslims, was the initial red flag.
"Hassan Aden is like Bob Smith," Aden said in a statement following his detention. "I think there's a lot of rhetoric on travel bans, homeland security and measures around national security. I do think it has something to do with the new administration ... I don't think it's a coincidence."
Mr. Aden also believes that his American citizenship should have warranted a quick check of his passport travel history and perhaps a call to Greenville to substantiate his identity, and that such steps would have cleared him in a matter of a few minutes. Instead, continued to be detained while foreign nationals were brought in and released.
"This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won't happen again, and that it won't happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad, he wrote in a Facebook post. "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."
A statement to CNN by US Customs and Border Protection read, "Due to the Privacy Act, we cannot comment on specific cases, but all travelers arriving to the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection. At times, travelers may be inconvenienced as we work through the arrival process to ensure those entering the country are doing so legitimately and lawfully."
As a retired law enforcement officer, Aden was quick to acknowledge the, "difficult and dangerous" task that CBP officers undertake every day. "But when you're dealing with US citizens, reasonableness should [come] into play."