Americans on Hold Documentary Film and Advocacy Project (2010)

Mohammad Razvi and Cyrus D. Mehta at launch of report “Americans on Hold”.

Americans on Hold: Profiling, Prejudice, and National Security is a documentary film that exposes the U.S. government’s use of discriminatory profiling in the name of national security, and its impact on South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim community members.

Through the personal stories of Zuhair Mahd and Anila Ali the film reveals the discriminatory profiling at the heart of both citizenship delays and border-crossing detentions and delays. Ali, a teacher, mother, and community organizer originally from Pakistan, received her American citizenship in 2002, but continues to experience humiliating and invasive treatment by Customs and Border Protection officials as a consequence of her national origin. Mahd, a blind adaptive technology 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.”

The film also includes expert testimony from Cecillia Wang, Managing Attorney of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project in San Francisco, Shirin Sinnar, Civil Rights Attorney and Fellow at Stanford Law School, and Prakash Khatri, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, Department of Homeland Security (2003-2008).

The film was launched on April 28, 2010, at NYU School of Law, to a large and diverse audience of New Yorkers, including members of the affected communities, members of the NYU community, and activists. Zuhair Mahd joined in a post-screening discussion via skype. The launch concluded with a panel discussion about profiling in the name of national security. Moderated by Amna Akbar, CHRGJ Clinic Fellow, the panel included CHRGJ Faculty Director and Project Director Smita Narula; Sameer Ahmed, Skadden Fellow, Asian Ameriican Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF); and Monami Maulik, Executive Director, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM).

To view the film and related materials, please visit the film’s dedicated website: