by John Hawkins | December 19, 2002 9:25 pm
Applause For The INS?: The INS has finally started cracking down on immigration violations in California…
“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 were part of a post Sept. 11 program that requires all males over 16 from a list of 20 Arab or Middle East countries, who do not have permanent resident status in the United States, to register with U.S. immigration authorities.
…INS spokesman Arcaute said those arrested had violated immigration laws, overstayed their visas, or were wanted for crimes. The program was prompted by concern about the lack of records on tourists, students and other visitors to the United States after the Sept. 11 hijack plane attacks on New York and Washington.
It’s about time that we started cracking down on immigration violations, especially when the immigrants in question are from terrorist supporting nations. But not everyone sees it that way…
“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?.”
…The head of the southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (news – web sites) compared the arrests to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War.
“I think it is shocking what is happening. It is reminiscent of what happened in the past with the internment of Japanese Americans. We are getting a lot of telephone calls from people. We are hearing that people went down wanting to cooperate and then they were detained,” said Ramona Ripston, the ACLU’s executive director.
Visiting the United States is a privilege, not a right. If you break our laws, have connections to terrorist groups, or overstay your visa, you don’t belong in the United States. That means you need to be locked up and then shipped back to your country of origin. If we’d been doing that from day 1, there would not have been a 9/11. Enforcing our immigration laws is one of the most important things we can do to prevent another 9/11 and I’m glad to see the INS doing their jobs for once.
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