Wednesday, August 3, 2022
In a letter to Border Patrol, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona documented dozens of such instances and said the actions "blatantly violate federal law," agency policy, and religious freedom protections in the U.S.
"They told me to take off my turban. I know a little English, and I said, ‘It’s my religion.’ But they insisted," one Sikh man said via an interpreter.
According to the ACLU of Arizona and the Phoenix Welcome Center, Yuma’s Border Patrol has confiscated at least 64 turbans this year. With many asylum seekers fearful if complaining, the number may be higher.
"The turban is sacred to Sikhs," said Deepak Ahluwalia, a private immigration attorney and advocate for Sikh rights in San Jose, California. "... It can be weeks and even months before these young men or women can cover their head — which is not only part of their faith, but part of their identity."