JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A U.S. citizen in Bosnia was unable to return home to Jacksonville for four months, until Thursday.
Zijad Bosnic said it was because he was placed on the national "no-fly list." His attorneys filed a federal lawsuit at the U.S. Courthouse downtown on Thursday, claiming Bosnic had no legitimate reason to be on the list.
Bosnic, an American citizen for about 10 years, was trying to fly home to the U.S. from Bosnia back in March. He went to the airport, but found out his boarding passes were withdrawn.
"It's a big stress for me, for family, for everybody," Bosnic said.
According to his attorneys, the reason Bosnic was able to return to the U.S. Thursday, was because they were able to grant him a one-time waiver. However, he's still unable to travel back home to Bosnia to see his three kids.
Lucy Martinez with Department of Homeland Security Public Affairs e-mailed this statement to First Coast News in regard to Bosnic:
"We cannot confirm a private individual's status on TSA Pre✓®, TWIC, no fly, etc. That is someone's personal private information. As matter of policy, we do not comment on pending litigation and it is our understanding this individual has filed."
"U.S. citizens, some as young as three or four-years-old, are placed on this list based on mere conjecture, hunches, or just guesses of these agencies," said Omar Saleh, a civil rights attorney with CAIR in Florida.
Civil rights attorneys from CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said placement on the "no-fly list" is often based on origin or race. CAIR attorney Omar Saleh said between 2009 and 2013, 1.5 million people have been placed on the watch list. Often times, they say, that means placement for life.
"A large portion of these clients have never been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime like our client," Saleh said.
Saleh, alongside CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, said their lawsuit fights for Bosnic's right of due process and right to travel across the country.
"We are challenging his designation on the watch list, but we're also challenging the overall constitutionality of the watch list," Masri said.
Bosnic's attorney said he also had his TWIC, or Transportation Worker Identification Credential, revoked, which as a truck driver, allowed him to enter shipping ports. Bosnic is no longer being able to take those routes, meaning his earnings will be cut by up to 30 percent, Bosnic said.
Bosnic said he plans on remaining in the U.S.
"Am I going to stay here? I'm here. I'm a U.S. citizen, I guess, so I feel that I can go back and forth whenever I like," he said.
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