Toledo-area engineer Abe Dabdoub has been stopped and searched so many times by U.S. border officials that he now calls them in advance of his return trips from Canada.

Dabdoub, a U.S. citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia, also uses a spreadsheet to record all of the humiliating details since Aug. 6: Detained 13 times, fingerprinted 13 times, searched nine times, handcuffed four times. His wife was detained twice while traveling with just their two sons.

“The way I look and my name, I’m willing to have a little more scrutiny,” he said during a recent interview. “I think when it happens 15 times, I’m being abused.”

Like Dabdoub, other members of Ohio’s Arab-American and Muslim communities complain about frequent and unwarranted detentions by U.S. border officials, who offer no explanations and later resist requests to produce records about detentions.

In fact, the federal government won’t even say how many people undergo “secondary inspections,” the official term for detentions. The government acknowledges only that 3,700 people nationwide have filed complaints about their treatment at the border since February.

The complaints, filed at www.dhs.gov/trip and logged by the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program, cover detentions, mistaken identities and other issues.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported last year that the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, which manages a watch list, receives a substantial number of names of misidentified people from various agencies. The most common error occurs with names that are identical or similar to names on the watch list.


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