On December 15, 2005, a group of Muslims sought a preliminary injunction in federal court in the Eastern District of New York (hat tip: Religion Clause). They were represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union and requested that the Court prevent the Department of Homeland Security from detaining, interrogating, fingerprinting and photographing American citizens at the border simply because they attended an Islamic conference in Toronto, as had been done upon return from the same conference in December of 2004.
According to the NYCLU, it was learned after the detentions in 2004 "that the border agents were obeying a Department of Homeland Security directive instructing them to detain, frisk, photograph and fingerprint individuals who crossed the border on their return from any of several Islamic conferences." It was reported that policy changes had been made within the last year that have resulted in fewer citizens being subjected to fingerprinting and would prevent the lengthy detentions experienced last year.
The judge indicated that he would rule on the request prior to the start of the conference on December 23.
I would hope that the basis for detention at the border is handled on a case by case basis, as opposed to a blanket policy requiring detention of anyone who appears to be Arabic, or anyone who attended the religious convention. If the policy has not been changed, and the Department of Homeland Security is under orders to detain and question anyone who attended the conference, then the judge should issue the injunction, since the conduct in question amounts to religioius and ethnic profiling, both of which are unconstitutional. It will be interesting to see what the judge's findings of fact are and how the judge rules.