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Re: Mass arrests of Muslims in California
by Michael Pugliese
19 December 2002 22:04 UTC
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       www.sfgate.com       INS arrests hundreds from Mideast, Africa They 
were held when they showed up, as requested, for a registration program Megan 
 Garvey, Martha Groves, Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times
Thursday, December 19, 2002 ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle| Feedback

URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- 

Los Angeles-- Hundreds of men and boys from Middle Eastern and African 
countries were arrested by federal immigration officials in Southern 
California this week when they complied with orders to appear at INS 
offices for a special registration program. The arrests drew thousands of 
people to demonstrate here Wednesday. Immigration and Naturalization 
Service spokesmen refused Wednesday to say how many people the agency had 
detained, what the specific charges were or how many were still being held. 
But officials speaking anonymously said they would not dispute estimates by 
lawyers for detainees that the number across Southern California was 500 to 
700. In Los Angeles, as many as one-fourth of those who showed up to 
register were jailed, lawyers said. The number of people arrested in this 
region appears to have been considerably larger than elsewhere in the 
United States, perhaps because of the size of Southern California's Iranian 
population. Monday's registration deadline applied to males 16 and older 
from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Men from 13 other nations, mostly 
from the Middle East and North Africa, are required to register next month. 
 of those arrested, according to their lawyers, had already applied for 
green cards and, in some instances, had interviews scheduled in the near 
future. Although they had overstayed their visas, attorneys argue, their 
clients had already taken steps to remedy the situation and were following 
the regulations closely. "These are the people who've voluntarily gone" to 
the INS, said Mike Manesh of the Iranian American Lawyers Association. "If 
they had anything to do with terrorism, they wouldn't have gone." Immigration 
 officials acknowledged Wednesday that many of those taken into custody 
this week have status-adjustment applications pending that have not yet 
been acted on. "The vast majority of people who are coming forward to 
register are currently in legal immigration status," said local INS 
spokeswoman Virginia Kice. "The people we have taken into custody are 
people whose non-immigrant visas have expired." The large number of 
Iranians among the detainees has angered many in the area's Iranian 
immigrant communities, who organized a demonstration Wednesday at the 
federal building in Westwood. At the rally, which police officials 
estimated drew about 3,000 protesters at its peak, some carried signs 
bearing such sentiments as "What Next? Concentration Camps?" and "Detain 
Terrorists not Innocent Immigrants." The arrests have generated widespread 
publicity, mostly unfavorable, in the Middle East, said Khaled Dawoud, a 
correspondent for al Ahram, one of Egypt's largest dailies. He questioned 
State Department official Charlotte Beers about the detentions Wednesday 
after a presentation she made at the National Press Club in Washington, 
D.C. Egyptians are not included in the registration requirement. Beers, 
undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was 
presenting examples of a U.S. outreach campaign for the Middle East, which 
includes images of Muslims leading happy lives here. Dawoud asked how that 
image squared with the "humiliating" arrests in recent days. "I don't think 
there is any question that the change in visa policy is going to be seen by 
some as difficult and, indeed -- what was the word you used? -- 
humiliating," Beers said. But, she added, President Bush has said 
repeatedly he considers "his No. 1 job to be the protection of the American 
people." Relatives and lawyers of those arrested locally challenge that 
rationale for the latest round of detentions. One attorney, who said he saw 
a 16-year- old boy pulled from the arms of his crying mother, called it 
madness to believe the registration requirements would catch terrorists. "His 
 mother is 6 1/2 months pregnant. They told the mother he is never going to 
come home -- she is losing her mind," said attorney Soheila Jonoubi, who 
spent Wednesday amid the chaos of the downtown INS office attempting to 
determine the status of her clients. Jonoubi said the mother has permanent 
residence status and that her husband, the boy's stepfather, is a U.S. 
citizen. The teenager came to the country in July on a student visa and was 
on track to gain permanent residence, the lawyer said. Many also objected 
to the treatment of those who showed up for the registration process. INS 
ads on local Persian radio stations and in other ethnic media led many to 
expect a routine procedure. Instead, the registration quickly became the 
subject of fear as word spread that large numbers of men were being 
arrested. ©2002 San Francisco Chronicle| Feedback
  Page A - 6

On Thu, 19 Dec 2002 12:56:05 -0600, Alan Spector <spectors@netnitco.net> wrote:

> There was a time when many Marxists were accused of "paranoia" or of 
> being "inflexible" in their belief that the civil liberties granted by 
> capitalism were not sacred and therefore should not be respected. .  
> Marxists, and working class people in general, were told to vote for one 
> or another of the capitalists and to obey the fundamental rules of 
> capitalism -- even though the capitalist class, itself, would easily 
> abandon those rules when it chose to. So now we have massive, secret 
> round-ups and imprisonment first of Muslims, then???  As the old saying 
> goes: "First they came for the Jews, but I......"
> =============================================================================
> The entire article can be found at:
> World - Reuters
> Hundreds of Muslim Immigrants Rounded Up in Calif.
> Thu Dec 9,12:05 AM ET
> By Jill Serjeant
> LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hundreds of Iranian and other Middle East 
> citizens were in southern California jails on Wednesday after coming 
> forward to comply with a new rule to register with immigration 
> authorities only to wind up handcuffed and behind bars.
> Shocked and frustrated Islamic and immigrant groups estimate that more 
> than 500 people have been arrested in Los Angeles, neighboring Orange 
> County and San Diego in the past three days under a new nationwide anti- 
> terrorism program. Some unconfirmed reports put the figure as high as 
> 1,000.
> The arrests sparked a demonstration by hundreds of Iranians outside a Los 
> Angeles immigration office. The protesters carried banners saying "What's 
> next? Concentration camps?" and "What happened to liberty and justice?."
> A spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service said no 
> numbers of people arrested would be made public. A Justice Department 
> (news - web sites) spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Michael Pugliese                              

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