The Muslim American mayor of a New Jersey town accused U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials at New York’s JFK airport of “flat out profiling”, wrongfully detaining him and asking him if “he knew any terrorists” at a press conference earlier this week.
Mohamed Khairullah, who has been mayor of Prospect Park, N.J., for more than a decade, said in a video posted to his Facebook page last month that CBP agents detained him and his family for almost three hours in early August after he returned home from a vacation in Turkey. The CBP also allegedly took his phone away despite his objections, Khairullah said, adding that it took him almost two weeks to get the device back.
Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told TIME that they could not comment on the individual case because of the federal Privacy Act, but said the agency “treats all international travelers with integrity, respect and professionalism while keeping the highest standards of security.”
“All international travelers arriving to the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection,” the CBP spokesperson said. “For a miniscule number of travelers, this inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones…”