You Can Go Home, But You Pretty Much Have to Stay Here


Yahya Wehelie, born and raised in the Virginia suburbs, is having a hard time coming home to America, reports the New York Times, and he's not alone:

As a 26-year-old Muslim American man who spent 18 months in Yemen before heading home to Virginia in early May, Yahya Wehelie caught the attention of the F.B.I. Agents stopped him while he was changing planes in Cairo, told him he was on the no-fly list and questioned him about his contacts with another American in Yemen, one accused of joining Al Qaeda and fatally shooting a hospital guard.

For six weeks, Mr. Wehelie has been in limbo in the Egyptian capital. He and his parents say he has no radical views, despises Al Qaeda and merely wants to get home to complete his education and get a job.

But after many hours of questioning by F.B.I. agents, he remains on the no-fly list. When he offered to fly home handcuffed and flanked by air marshals, Mr. Wehelie said, F.B.I. agents turned him down…..

The American authorities in Cairo canceled his passport and issued a new one Sunday with the notation, "valid only for return to the United States before Sept. 12, 2010," Mr. Wehelie said. That is his goal, he said, but he has no idea how to get home.

He's not the only one:

At least three Americans have been detained in recent weeks by the Yemeni authorities on suspicion of terrorist connections, and civil liberties advocates have identified a half-dozen Americans or legal United States residents on the no-fly list who are stranded abroad, most of them after visiting Yemen.

Kevin Drum is hoppin' mad over at Mother Jones:

This is an abomination, pure and simple. There's not the slightest question that it would be possible to allow Wehelie to fly home safely even if he were Osama bin Laden's minister of defense. The government of the United States should be allowed to search him and his luggage with abandon if they have reason to suspect him of illegal activity, and they have every right to question him for the same reason. But the right to keep him from flying home? No. That doesn't just skirt the line of what the American government should be allowed to do, it blows right by it and makes a mockery of the constitution and every smarmy bureaucrat who pretends to support it while snickering behind their hands about "carefully protecting the civil rights and privacy concerns of all Americans." How on earth can Barack Obama stand by and continue to allow stuff like this to happen?

Because Obama could not care less, and see this blog post for links to plenty of Reason and Reason associates on that point.