Thursday, June 30, 2005
L.A. 8 in L.A. Times
There is a very interesting two-part article about the so-called "L.A. 8" by Peter H. King in the Los Angeles Times. From part one:
Shehadeh was told that he belonged to a terrorist organization and was under arrest. They handcuffed him and led him outside. A police helicopter wheeled low over the house, and that is when the thought clicked: He had witnessed this scene before.From part two:
"The raid on my house in Long Beach," he said, "looked exactly like the raids in the West Bank: early-morning raids, with helicopters and guns and police and uniforms. Taken away in a hazy dawn, you know. Except this was happening in America."
"An alien unlawfully in this country," [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia] declared, "has no constitutional right to assert selective enforcement as a defense against his deportation." Moreover, the government "should not have to disclose its 'real' reasons for deeming nationals of a particular country a special threat — or indeed for simply wishing to antagonize a particular foreign country by focusing on that country's nationals."
In the aftermath of 9/11, this has meant that federal investigators can target specific immigrant communities, detaining or deporting anyone found to have overstayed a visa or otherwise run afoul of immigration fine print — without fear of facing a selective-prosecution challenge in court. "As a result," warns David D. Cole, another L.A. 8 lawyer who came to the case, pro bono, through the Center for Constitutional Rights, "Arab and Muslim foreign nationals with any possible immigration problem are well advised to do nothing — such as speaking out, demonstrating or joining political associations — that might bring them to the attention of the federal government."