When the Laaredj-Campbell family flew into Portland last month, they thought they had begun an idyllic summer holiday, coming from their home in Germany to visit relatives in Eugene.

But that was before U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials separated Abdel Kader Laaredj from his wife – a U.S. citizen – and two young sons at the airport, questioned him for hours, put him in a jail cell overnight and then booked him on a return flight to Germany the next day.

The experience stunned the family, who were shocked to learn there is no judicial avenue to challenge such actions, and instead have chosen to speak out about the experience in the hope of creating change.

Federal officials, who declined to speak specifically about the incident, said very few visitors are refused entry into the United States in a system that’s designed to weed out criminals and terrorists but allow in the millions who come each year for business or pleasure.

The trouble began the morning of June 13, when the family got off their Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Portland. They were planning to visit Anne Laaredj-Campbell’s parents, who live in Eugene, where Laaredj-Campbell grew up.


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