Legal Immigrants Can Now Be Legally Disappeared ; Why is President Bush so Frightened of The U.S. Legal System?
Portland Press Herald
November 19, 2006
A legal opinion filed by the Department of Justice is more reason to worry that President Bush is determined to completely absolve himself of Constitutional limits on his authority.
The brief, filed in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, asserts that legal immigrants accused of terror ties may be held indefinitely without the right to challenge their detention in court.
The recent Congressional debate over the Military Commissions Act of 2006 focused on what legal protections are appropriate to provide an enemy combatant arrested overseas. The law stripped such detainees of the right challenge their detention before a judge, known as the right of habeas corpus. It was supposedly aimed primarily at the prisoners held at GuantanamoBay.
Now the administration is saying the law applies to all aliens, including those who are legal residents of the United States.
Al-Marri may indeed be a member of an al-Qaida sleeper cell, as the government alleges. We don't know.
Ever since the founding of our country, aliens have had the right to challenge their detention, whether it be for immigration violations or other crimes.
The Justice Department's position means that millions of non- citizens who are legally here are now deprived of a basic legal protection previously granted to them and to their neighbors.
The law says suspected enemy combatants can only challenge their detention before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, which denies them and their attorney many standard rights available in U.S. courts - like the right to confront witnesses or see the evidence being held against them.
This is unprecedented, possibly unlawful and profoundly un- American.