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Arjmand v. United States Department of Homeland Security

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 24, 2014

RAYMOND ARJMAND, Petitioner,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; JEH JOHNSON, in his official capacity as the Secretary of Homeland Security; TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION; JOHN S. PISTOLE, in his official capacity as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; TERRORIST SCREENING CENTER; CHRISTOPHER M. PIEHOTA, in his official capacity as Director of Terrorist Screening Center, Respondents

Submitted February 10, 2014 [*] Pasadena, California

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Department of Homeland Security.

Nancy Ellen Miller and Eric Robert Welsh, Reeves & Associates, APLC, Pasadena, California, for Petitioner.

Henry Charles Whitaker, Mark B. Stern, and Sharon Swingle, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.

Before: Dorothy W. Nelson, Richard A. Paez, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge D.W. Nelson.

OPINION

Page 1301

NELSON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Raymond Arjmand filed a petition in this court seeking review of a determination letter issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Arjmand seeks to know whether his name appears on a government terrorism watchlist, and if so, he seeks either immediate removal from all watchlists or a meaningful opportunity to seek removal.

We conclude that we lack jurisdiction over Arjmand's claims, and transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Central District of California for further proceedings.

Background

I. Arjmand's Travel, Detention, and Administrative Complaint

Arjmand is an American citizen who was born in Iran. Shortly before boarding a flight to the United States from Canada, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers detained Arjmand and his wife for two hours and searched their belongings. Roughly one year later, Arjmand was subject to another search and lengthy detention at Los Angeles International Airport after returning with his family from a vacation in Mexico. Arjmand has never been prohibited from boarding a flight. He has since ceased traveling abroad, fearing additional embarrassing delays.

Concerned that his name was mistakenly included on a government terrorism watchlist, Arjmand submitted a complaint through the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP), which, as described in more detail below, is the federal government's " clearinghouse" for grievances related to travel screening. Latif v. Holder, 686 F.3d 1122, 1125 (9th Cir. 2012). Arjmand's complaint alleged that there was no basis for subjecting him to additional security screening, and stated his concern that he was subject to discrimination due to his race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.

In response, DHS issued Arjmand a letter, stating that " DHS has researched and completed our review of your case" and " made any corrections to records that our inquiries determined were necessary." The letter did not, however, disclose Arjmand's watchlist status, did not explain why he was subjected to additional screening at the border, and stated that DHS " cannot ensure your travel will be delay-free." The letter claimed that its conclusions were " ...


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