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Mayor Mohamed Khairullah attending a documentary screening in Jersey City, New Jersey, May 3, 2017. Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images.

Mohamed Khairullah, the mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, told CNN that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents wrongfully detained him after he and his family got off a plane at JFK International Airport last month from a vacation in Turkey.

Why it matters: He said agents detained him for 3 hours and confiscated his phone for 12 days. While his family waited outside the interview room, they asked him if he met with any terrorists during his vacation.

What they're saying: Anthony Bucci, a public affairs officer with CBP, told CNN the agency could not speak about specific events because of the Privacy Act. However, he said CBP's "authority to engage in border searches is articulated in numerous statutes and has been repeatedly affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States."

  • Khairullah said an agent told him that he was randomly selected for questioning, but he said he doesn't believe it and has not ruled out legal action against CBP.
  • Ahmed Mohamed, director for New York's Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim American civil rights group, said he is representing Khairullah in what he described is "a clear case of profiling."

The big picture: If Khairullah sues the agency, he would be joining other advocates who are currently challenging CBP's authority in federal court.

  • The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2017 filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security, the CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's authority to seize and search people's electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion or a warrant.

Go deeper: Border Patrol agents complain about national backlash

Go deeper

19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

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