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Detention Until Death

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Can anybody honestly say that America should hold illegal immigrants forever? With no charges, no possibility of bond, nothing? Just hold them in a cell until they rot and die? Anybody besides John Ashcroft, that is.

The whole document in PDF format is available for your perusal, but it’s likely to ruin your weekend, so I wouldn’t if I were you.

Honestly, I’m afraid to say much more. I have various family members that are dealing the INS right now on various matters, and some of those folks are just vindicitive enough to make a note of my name and keep a list if I say too much. That’s been true regardless of which party is in the White House. The Ashcroft stuff, that’s new.

The last attorney general spent her time picking on religious wackos who kept to themselves and little Cuban boys, and all one at a time. This one leaves the wackos alone (good) but widens the aim on “attempted immigrants” to include, well, basically everybody.

Is there nothing we can do to impeach the Attorney General? How does that work, anyway?

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About pwinn

  • Answering my own question, my mind boggles to learn that one ‘LL’ does in fact think that just because someone was born elsewhere, they do not deserve the ability to exercise basic rights like the right to face one’s accuser, the right to a trial by peers, and so on and so forth.

    I hope LL never breaks the law, since he or she appreciates the rights of “illegal” people so little.

  • Phillip,

    Yes, the A.G. can be impeached. It starts in the House.

    However, it might be better to just go straight to the top, with the man who appointed Ashcroft and heartily approves of the policies you find so shocking. No member of Bush’s Cabinet could possibly institute a policy like this without White House approval.

    Realistically, however, if we want to rid our country’s institutions of this kind of abuse of power, it will look something like this, I think.

  • You’re kidding, right? I know you’re just pulling my leg, thinking Kerry is the solution to any problem anybody might ever have. He’s the same sort of opportunistic weasel as Daschle and 99% of the rest of Congress. But I know you must see that, and you’re just kidding.

    I do fault Bush for appointing this jackass, and leaving him there. But since I didn’t participate in the impeachment of Clinton, I can’t see myself doing the same for Bush, especially when I thought Reno abused her power more than Ashcroft has. At least Ashcroft is picking on immigrants instead of US citizens (with noted heinous exceptions). Smart move on his part, it’s harder to get people worked up.


  • Phillip,

    You wrote:

      He’s the same sort of opportunistic weasel as Daschle and 99% of the rest of Congress. But I know you must see that, and you’re just kidding.

    I don’t know how you “know” this.

    I’m sorry, it isn’t at all obvious to me that Kerry would support the police state Ashcroft is leading us to bit by bit. I haven’t seen any evidence for that.

    As far as “opportunistic weasel,” I don’t know, that’s a pretty flexible term. Can you name one President of the United States, ever, who didn’t qualify for this label in one way or another?

    I’ve always figured I would have to settle for a politician in the White House. And I’ll pick the politician who doesn’t want to wage war on the Constitution every time.

  • Debbie

    I’ve read the document and I don’t see any problem with it.

    Nobody is detained until they “rot and die” it is until their case is decided. If their case is rejected they would be deported back to their country.

    Don’t you think that we should have some control over our borders?

  • Debbie – The problem is that the normal limitations imposed on our government to protect us don’t apply to immigrants. As Americans, we have the right to face our accusers, the right to know our charges within a very few days, the right to a trial by a jury of our peers, and so on. We can surely exercise control over our borders without treating all non-citizens like dogs.

    We lose nothing by affording basic American rights to immigrants. Nothing! But doing so would reinforce the idea that the Constitution of this country recognizes that all people (not “all citizens” the last time I read the Constitutions) deserve basic human rights and that government is required to ensure that those rights are respected.

    Instead, we’ve got an amorphous system under which someone can be held without any charges for as long as somebody decides to hold them. There are no time constraints, there is no requirement for legal representation, nothing. You’re focusing on how we might expect things to work if things go smoothly: Someone is picked up, their case is decided relatively quickly, and things hum along. The reality is somewhat different: people can be and have been (and will be) held for months without any charges being filed with no contact allowed with their family or legal representation or the press or anybody so that noone actually knows if they are alive or dead.

    Yes, we hope that charges are filed and their case is decided. But what if charges are never filed? Where’s the requirement? There is none, so legally, immigrants can be detained until they rot and die.

    It’s easy to dismiss immigrants as “other” and ignore their plight, but this is America, and once upon a time, we were all immigrants of one flavor or another, and a government that ignored the rights of people with brown skin and funny accents now will ignore my rights soon enough.