Despite holding a permit entitling him to work in the United States, Adnan Asif Parveen found himself lying on the cold floor of a Border Patrol detention facility with an aluminum sheet for a blanket.
Even if he hadn’t been crammed into a gated room with three dozen migrants recently arrested at the border, it would have been difficult to sleep. His wife didn’t know where he was. And he had barely eaten. For the six days he spent in Border Patrol’s custody last month, he said the only food he received was a pork sandwich every eight hours. He explained that as a Muslim, he had to refuse. When the guards offered nothing else, he picked off the meat and ate just the bread.
Customs and Border Protection declined to comment on the case, citing privacy concerns. A spokeswoman referred HuffPost to the agency’s detention standards, which require its officers to “remain cognizant of a detainee’s religious or other dietary restrictions.”
A few days after Asif’s arrest, two officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to interview him about possible terrorist ties, he said. They took his phone and searched his contact list and social media. “They asked if at the mosque they say anything against the USA government,” Asif told HuffPost. “I said, no, the mosque is where you go to pray.”
It’s unclear what could’ve prompted the questioning, other than Asif’s national origin and religion. ICE declined to comment on the case. Asif has no criminal record in the United States, where he’s lived since 2014, according to his lawyer Cathy Potter. He says he has no record in Spain, where he was raised, or in Pakistan, where he was born.