Fwd: NYTimes.com Article: Illegal Aliens Can Be Held Indefinitely, Ashcroft Says

From: rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU
Date: Tue Apr 29 2003 - 19:40:12 EDT

I doubtless over-speak here, but it would seem that US immigration
policy is now being dictated by Forbes columnist and right wing hack
Peter Brimelow who in his scurrilous Alien-Nation drew up a racial
pincher chart which showed whites being squeezed out soon by Latinos,
Asians and Blacks and recommended a high skilled, whites only
immigration policy (a more academic presentation was provided by Cuban
emigre George--aka Jorge--Borjas who was in my opinion brilliantly taken
to task by the free trader Jagdish Bhagwati). Brimelow's book was fully
in the tradition of turn of the twentieth century eugenic screeds about
themes such as coming hordes and the eclipse of the white race.

It would seem that the post 9/11 national security scare may provide the
cover for the violent and ultimately hopeless attempt to impose such a
restrictive or,less euphemisticaly, social darwinist immigration policy.

Illegal Aliens Can Be Held Indefinitely, Ashcroft Says

April 26, 2003

WASHINGTON, April 25 - Attorney General John Ashcroft has
ruled that illegal immigrants who have no known links to
terrorist groups can be detained indefinitely to address
national security concerns.

Mr. Ashcroft was ruling in the case of a Haitian immigrant
who had won the right to be released on bail while awaiting
a decision on his asylum claim. Mr. Ashcroft did not argue
that the man was a security threat, but said that his
release and that of others like him "would tend to
encourage further surges of mass migration from Haiti by
sea, with attendant strains on national security and
homeland security resources."

Because immigration judges are part of the Justice
Department, rulings made by Mr. Ashcroft must serve as the
basis for any decisions.

The decision will have an immediate effect on Haitian
immigrants in Florida. But Mr. Ashcroft said the nation's
immigration judges should rule similarly in bail hearings
involving other illegal immigrants when the government
provides evidence that extended detention is needed to
protect the country.

It was unclear how widely the policy would be enforced. But
outraged advocates for immigrants said it would impose
unnecessary hardships on immigrants and asylum seekers who
pose no security risk.

This policy shift is the latest effort by the Bush
administration to use the detention of immigrants as a tool
to address security concerns and prevent terrorist attacks.
In March, officials said they would detain people from Iraq
and 32 other countries who arrive at airports and border
crossings seeking political asylum.

The government has also detained dozens of immigrants
without charge as material witnesses in terrorism cases.

This is the first time, however, that officials have
decided to detain immigrants who have no links to terrorism
in an effort to address broader security concerns. Until
now, judges in bail hearings focused on each individual
immigrant and whether he or she would return to court or
pose any danger to local communities.

Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and
the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, sharply criticized
the policy shift.

"It's shortsighted, it's wrong and it does not make us
safer," said Elisa Massimino, who runs the Washington
office of the lawyers group. "What it means is that these
people will languish in detention without the opportunity
to prove to a judge or anyone else that they don't pose a
threat to national security."

David Joseph, the detained Haitian immigrant in question in
Mr. Ashcroft's ruling, scrambled to shore last Oct. 29
along with more than 200 other Haitians after their boat
ran aground off Miami. Mr. Joseph and many others applied
for political asylum.

Immigration advocates and lawmakers from both parties
immediately called on the president and Gov. Jeb Bush of
Florida to order the Haitians' release. Some passengers
have been released on bail, but Mr. Ashcroft's decision
will ensure that the rest remain in detention until claims
for asylum are decided.

Mr. Ashcroft said his ruling was necessary to discourage
mass migration from Haiti, which he described as a staging
point for Pakistanis and Palestinians hoping to enter the
United States illegally, a charge that was disputed by
advocates for immigrants.

He said the Coast Guard was wasting precious resources
focusing on Haitians trying to enter the United States by
boat. With the war against terrorists draining resources,
officials lack the capacity to screen Haitian immigrants
individually to determine whether they present national
security risks, he said.

"Under these circumstances," Mr. Ashcroft wrote in his
decision on April 17, "it is reasonable to make a
determination that aliens arriving under the circumstances
presented by the Oct. 29 influx should be detained rather
than released on bond."

Bill Schulz, the executive director of Amnesty
International, said he recognized the government's right to
protect the public from terrorism. But he said officials
also had an obligation to asylum seekers.

"International standards state that the detention of asylum
seekers should normally be avoided and is justified only in
limited cases prescribed by law," Mr. Schulz said.


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