The ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU filed an emergency request to prevent a woman, who is a lawful permanent resident, and her U.S. citizen child from being denied entry into the United States.

The woman and her son were returning home from Egypt, which has erupted in violence and instability. The request was filed in the Central District Court of California to allow her to enter the United States and remove her from the “No Fly List.”

Samaa Kerba and her four-year-old son, Farias Daniel As Salaaf, left Cairo yesterday to escape the violence and return to Los Angeles. However, when they arrived in Amsterdam, Holland, they were stopped by U.S. authorities because Ms. Kerba is on the federal government’s “No Fly List” for reasons unknown. She alerted her brother, Samy Ali of Palm Springs, and he contacted the ACLU/SC for help. Mother and child fear they could be returned to Egypt in less than eight hours.

“The plight of Ms. Kerba and her American-born son highlight how horribly broken the “No Fly List” system has become,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, director of Immigrants’ Rights and National Security for the ACLU/SC. “Americans fleeing civil unrest should be welcomed here, not barred from returning in violation of the most basic constitutional rights.”

The ACLU/SC and the national ACLU filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of more than a dozen people who were placed on the “No Fly list.” According to the ACLU's legal complaint, thousands of people have been added to this list and barred from commercial air travel without any opportunity to learn about or refute the basis for their inclusion. The result is a vast and growing list of individuals who, on the basis of error or innuendo, have been deemed too dangerous to fly but who are too harmless to arrest.

“Surely, every American’s worst nightmare is to find themselves attempting to flee a country in chaos only to discover their own government has slammed the door in their face without any explanation,” said Hector Villagra, incoming executive director of the ACLU/SC.