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Fwd: Immigration Policies and Terrorism
by Adam Starr
04 April 2002 18:51 UTC
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Hello WSN World,

This is related to what Yonca was making a plea for.
Anybody remember that the word 'active' is part of
'activism'? After all, what does all this world-system
analysis and "debate" lead to in the end...


PS: I'm sure many of you are highly involved with
activism. I just get a little sad (perhaps even
hot-headed) and disillusioned when human suffering
becomes intellectualized.

Note: forwarded message attached.

Adam T. Starr
Undergraduate of Political Science, UVic
3009 Quadra Street, Victoria, British Columbia
V8T 4G2 Canada
(011) (250) 472-1223
adam@hornbyisland.com or reunitedhornby@yahoo.com

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - online filing with TurboTax

Wednesday, April 3, 2002
Susan V. Thompson, ed.

Read online or subscribe at:

1. Introduction: And Justice for All...Except Immigrants
2. One Link: Non-White=Terrorist?
3. War Used as Justification for Anti-Immigration Agendas
4. Second-Class Justice for American Immigrants
5. Canada Follows Suit 
6. Get Involved
7. About the Bulletin

President Bush has repeatedly assured the American people 
that new security measures meant to prevent and prosecute 
terrorism will not infringe on their rights. In some sense, 
this may be true, so long as you define "American" as 
non-Middle Eastern, non-Muslim, and non-immigrant. 
Unfortunately, the mounting evidence seems to indicate that 
the extensive terrorism investigations launched since Sept. 
11 have resulted in thousands of people being detained in 
secret without legal counsel.  These detainees face poor 
treatment, solitary confinement, and deportation, all 
because of relatively minor immigration infractions and the 
suspicion--albeit without any substantive evidence--that 
they were somehow involved in terroristic activities. 

Racial profiling and perhaps even downright racism have been 
coupled with new legislation that makes these detentions 
legal. But that doesn't make them fair, or right. This week, 
we will examine how immigration policies have changed since 
Sept. 11 both in the US and Canada, and how the expanded 
powers that immigration agencies now enjoy may be enabling 
them to violate basic human rights. 

Since Sept. 11, racial profiling has become the unofficial 
cornerstone of US security. A major consequence of the War 
On Terrorism has thus become that non-whites, especially 
immigrants, are treated like terrorists. This excellent 
article summarizes this new, far-reaching "war on the third 
world" within America. 

Rep. Tom Tancredo used Sept. 11 to further his own 
anti-immigration agenda, introducing a bill that would 
impose a moratorium on new immigration and justifying it as 
a defense against terrorism. 

Many other anti-immigrant groups have used the war on 
terrorism to justify their position as well. However, a war 
on immigration is unlikely to help prevent terrorism. As the 
author of this article states, "Cutting back immigrant 
rights is an even more dangerous policy in the context of 
threatened terrorism. A national ID or any other tool is 
unlikely to be a problem for terrorists backed by both cash 
and patience--no system is fool-proof and such a system is 
least likely to catch such targets. However, it will likely 
drive the millions of already existing undocumented 
immigrants further underground, creating a whole network of 
petty illegality where such terrorists would easily 
hide. . ." 

"War at the Door" is an excellent article that summarizes 
the history of American ambivalence towards immigration, and 
the many "bungles and brutalities" of the INS, a largely 
incompetent agency that is now being charged with protecting 
the nation's security.

"Combating Terrorism Through Immigration Policies" is a post 
9-11 Presidential Directive on immigration and terrorism 
that calls for the creation of a Foreign Terrorist Tracking 
Task Force, harmonization of all North American policies, 
and greater powers for the INS, among other things.

The USA Patriot Act has had significant consequences for 
immigration, because, says the ACLU, it has "conferred new 
and unprecedented detention authority on the Attorney 
General based on vague and unspecified predictions of 
threats to the national security."

This excellent report from Amnesty International USA sums up 
the treatment of foreign nationals in the US, including both 
refugees who have arrived from other countries and foreign 
nationals who have been detained over immigration issues.

The vast majority of the estimated 2,000 people who have 
been secretly detained as part of the terrorism 
investigations since Sept. 11 seem to have been kept on 
immigration charges, not terrorism charges. The secrecy that 
surrounds these detainees makes it impossible to know 
exactly what is going on, but the stories that have leaked 
out indicate that the American government is suspending 
justice in the name of security, especially for people of 
Middle Eastern descent.

The detention of 11 young Israelis in Ohio is an example of 
just how wide a net the Bush administration is casting in 
their investigations, and how the strict letter of 
immigration law rather than the spirit of the US 
Constitution is used to justify the treatment of detainees.

A US Senate hearing recently highlighted the new rules and 
practices of the US Justice Department, which, as a lawyer 
testified, have gone far beyond the measures adopted under 
the new USA Patriot Act.

A New Jersey court has ruled that US secrecy about terror 
prisoners is against the law. (Many of the detainees are 
being held at two locations within New Jersey.)

A recent mass deportation of people to Somalia, which was a 
joint effort between the American and Canadian immigration 
services, was not technically illegal--but it may be another 
indication of the harsher treatment immigrants have been 
facing since Sept. 11.

The Bush administration has approved the use of special 
executive military commissions to prosecute suspected 
terrorists. Only foreign nationals face the possibility of 
being tried by a military commission. Amnesty International 
has condemned these commissions for their discriminatory 
nature and for other aspects of the commissions which 
indicate potential for a "grave miscarriage of justice."

March raids on a number of Islamic homes and institutions 
were condemned by various Islamic advocacy groups as "a 
fishing expedition... using McCarthy-like tactics."

Recently (March), Attorney General John Ashcroft announced 
that 3000 more "voluntary" interviews of foreign nationals 
would be conducted as part of the terrorism investigations. 
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is very 
concerned that these interviews will only strengthen the 
perception that Muslims and Middle-Easterners are being 
targeted solely on the basis of racial profiling. 
Congressman John Conyers has also criticized the plan, 
saying, "While the Bush Administration speaks of uniting the 
nation, its continued racial profiling, interrogation and 
detention of thousands of Arab and Muslims is having the 
opposite effect. It is time for the President to realize 
that the only thing these practices will secure is the 
downfall of democratic freedoms in America."

Due to the long border between America and Canada (as well 
as Canada's close economic ties to America), Canada has 
faced more pressure than perhaps any other country to 
harmonize its immigration policies with those of the US. 
This harmonization process has already begun, despite the 
fact that creating a "Fortress North America" may threaten 
Canada's sovereignty.

In June of 2001, prior to the terrorist attacks, the US 
Ambassador to Canada was already suggesting harmonizing 
immigration policies, border controls, etc., as part of a 
"NAFTA-plus" dismantling of borders.

Should Canada harmonize its immigration with the US? This 
lawyer says "no."

A statement of common Canada-US security priorities made 
last December details plans for the integration of the 
immigration policies of the two countries. These plans 
include integrating Canadian officials into the American 
Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, and developing 
"common biometric identifiers for documents."

Canada has tightened immigration rules in response to 
post-9-11 security concerns.

A brief overview of what exactly Canada has done to 
strengthen its borders; it notes that harmonization of 
policies raises issues of sovereignty for Canada.

The Canadian government had already been in the process of 
revising its legislation on immigration in response to an 
incident involving Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian man who was 
arrested while trying to enter the States from Canada with 
bomb-making materials when the attacks on the WTC occurred. 
The result of this revision, the controversial new Bill 
C-11, is touted as part of Canada's major response to border 
security issues. This article summarizes the major points of 
the Bill and its companion, Bill C-36, as well as the major 
criticisms leveled against both bills.

The Canadian Council for Refugees lists a number of concerns 
about Bill C-11, including the proposed expansions of 
detention powers which enable suspects to be detained on 
mere suspicion. 

In the wake of Sept. 11, a special police squad was formed 
in the province of Ontario to help find illegal immigrants 
and deport them. Immigrant groups said that the squads 
amounted to a "witch hunt."

Unfortunately, the fears of terrorism already seem to have 
caused some instances of judicial discrimination in Canada 
that are similar to those occurring in the States.

Four men were arrested in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, on 
suspicion of terrorism, and were held on immigration 
charges. The charges of terrorism were later dropped, but 
the men were still held an additional 30 days for the 
immigration offenses.

One of the men now fears for his life, saying, "Everybody 
thinks I am terrorist." He has been fired from his job and 
evicted from his apartment.

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