Produced by the International Human Rights Clinic, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), at New York University School of Law, Americans on Hold: Profiling, Prejudice, and National Security reveals the harmful effects of prejudicial and ineffective U.S. counter-terrorism and immigration policies. Through the personal stories of Anila Ali and Zuhair Mahd, and expert testimony, the film exposes discriminatory profiling at the heart of citizenship delays and border-crossing detentions and delays.
Ali, a teacher, mother, and community organizer originally from Pakistan, became an American citizens in 2002, but faces humiliating and invasive treatment by Customs and Border Protection officials as a consequence of her national origin. Mahd, a blind adaptive technologies specialist from Jordan, waged and won a five-year legal struggle against the Department of Homeland Security in his effort to become a U.S. citizen. In the process, he was repeatedly interrogated and pressured by the FBI to become an informant.
Both Mahd and Ali share compelling stories of their experiences with racial profiling and the impact of these experiences on their families, their communities, and their sense of self and security. The film also explores the inherent affront to one’s sense of dignity and belonging that results from such discriminatory targeting and from having one’s life put “on hold.”