The family lawyer says Muhammad Ali Jr. was targeted because of the Trump administration's travel ban.
The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was held and questioned by immigration officers earlier this month at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to The New York Daily News.
Muhammad Ali Jr., was traveling with his mother and Muhammad Ali's second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, when they were pulled aside at customs because of their Arabic names, family lawyer Chris Mancini said. The duo were returning to the U.S. after taking part in a Black History Month event in Jamaica on Feb. 7.
Once questioned by immigration officials, Camacho-Ali showed a photo of herself with the legendary boxer and she was released. But Ali Jr., a U.S. citizen, failed to provide similar evidence. He was detained for almost two hours and questioned about his name and religion.
Mancini, a former federal prosecutor, said this incident was the first time the family had ever been stopped, and put the blame of Donald Trump’s administration.
“To the Ali family, it's crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump's efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” Mancini said. President Trump signed an executive order last month that banned immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries. It has since been struck down by an appeals court for its rollout, though Trump plans on releasing a cleaner version soon. Ali Jr.’s incident took place a week after the travel ban was first issued.
“This is an outrage,” said Mancini. “I don’t know what is going on with Mr. Trump’s claim that his ban is not religion-based.”
When asked for comment, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told USA Today, “Due to the restrictions of the Privacy Act, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection.”