In case you had any doubts about whether social justice activists are under government surveillance, Shaun King’s latest encounter with immigration agents should clear them up.
King is an activist and social media influencer, who initially rose to prominence for his work with Black Lives Matter.
He has since been instrumental in the ongoing fight for social change. His unwavering efforts led to the arrests of several neo-Nazis who committed violent acts during the explosive Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
Despite his positive contributions to society, he and his family were targeted at JFK airport in New York City while returning home from a trip to Cairo, Egypt.
King took to Twitter to detail his experience, claiming that he, his wife, and their children were pulled out of the passport line and questioned about Black Lives Matter and why they were in Egypt.
1. Immigration & customs officers at JFK Airport in NYC just pulled me and my whole family out of the middle of the passport line.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 9, 2018
We just returned from Cairo.
The officer literally called us by name, knew about our trip, and took us away for questioning.
The officer allegedly had already known about King and his work as an activist when he singled his family out. King suspected that the agent must have viewed his tweets, which inadvertently suggests that the Department of Homeland Security is using social media data as a vetting strategy for foreigners and to monitor residents and citizens.
2. The customs officer specifically brought up my role as a leader in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and wanted to know why I traveled to Egypt.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 9, 2018
Luckily, King was able to contact his attorneys, and his family was ultimately released. King updated his Twitter followers that they had made it home safely, but he made a point to note that his experience was no different from what Muslims deal with on a daily basis.
4. We just made it home safely. FYI. Family was shook up a bit at first. Took us all to a secluded questioning room.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 9, 2018
What I know is that my Muslim friends deal with this ugliness every single day.
Officer had clearly been reading my tweets and knew all about me.
This poignant reality makes it abundantly clear that the ICE crackdowns extend far beyond so-called national security. This is a form of intimidation and harassment as a means of discouraging not only immigrants, but President Donald Trump's critics and political opponents as well.
Sounds like Trump has a list— Sherri Kuczeryk💬🇨🇦 (@SherriKuczeryk) April 9, 2018
Sounds like gestapo tactics to me... Hello fascism, goodbye privacy...— Astartiel Inanna 🌊 (@Astartiel) April 9, 2018
How did they even know your schedule? Reminds me of Hitler's Germany going through people's personal mail. Was your email hacked? Or are airlines sharing customers flight information with the TSA?
Welcome to the police state, @ShaunKing— Mike Levitt (@mike_levitt) April 9, 2018
Interesting to see how this unfolds... Lets you know nothing has changed since wiretaps on MLK— Ryann (@beachedwhaleart) April 9, 2018
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Crookshane