Monday, June 13, 2005
Immigration Law as Anti-Terrorism Tool
"In the past two years, officials have filed immigration charges against more than 500 people who have come under scrutiny in national security investigations, according to previously undisclosed government figures. Some are ultimately found to have no terrorism ties, officials acknowledge."
A story in today's Washington Post details what many of us already know: Minor immigration charges are being used to detain and remove people who the government sees as possible "terrorist" threats. Since the government does not have the resources to arrest and detain everyone who has overstayed their status, or who have other immigration violations, the focus seems to be on foreign residents of Arab and Muslim background.
Given the government's apparently broad mandate to tighten homeland security post 9/11, government law enforcement agencies will probably continue to receive broad latitude with the "tools" they have available to investigate and prevent terrorism. One can almost guarantee overeaching. Witness the stories coming out of the Guantanamo detention facility, the continuing debates about renewal and extension of the PATRIOT Act and the debate about reforming immigration laws, which restrictionists are trying to turn into a debate about protecting America from terrorists entering surreptitiously across the southern border. However, we can't forget that the 9/11 attackers came in on visas and came from a country, Saudi Arabia, that has not been at the center of "anti-terrorism" concerns.