Monday, January 08, 2007

So Who's a Terrorist Now?

The Washington Post article above uncovers the problems with the implementation of the REAL ID Act and the Patriot Act on U.S. Immigration law.
Individuals who were raped and gave water or shelter to their rapists who might also have been rebel child soldiers have been denied asylum under the REAL ID act for providing material support to "terrorists". Colombian asylum seekers have been particularly hard hit by the REAL ID act. Some individuals who have paid ransoms to rebel groups who have kidnapped loved ones are disqualified from asylum on the basis that they too provided "material support for terrorists". Hasn't this gone a little too far?

1 comment:

gemay said...

The quote that struck me was said by Paul Rosenweig, chairman of a Homeland Security advisory committee - "I will completely own up to wishing we had done more, but it's a big department." Hm, well, wishing isn't the best word choice here, as people are being denied asylum and sent back to their home countries, and maybe sent back only to face death. Yet, he can wish all he wants, and as the article states, waivers are not expanding, and people who deserve a chance are not being granted one. As hard as it must be to research asylum cases, we are supposed to be a compassionate nation, and one where second chances are granted. Yes, we were attacked, and yes, we must be careful - but how do you weigh being careful to protect our country yet also giving chances to those who deserve it? Our government is filled with "big departments," maybe part of the reason why we are where we are now, because our "big departments" didn't/don't know how to communicate very well. All we can do now is protect our borders, but the right way, the fair way. Punishing Vietnam vets is not the right way. How should we treat people forced to act to save their life, when their action may have been wrong in our government's eyes? Instead of labeling these asylum seekers from the start, government officials should swap shoes, take a little more time, and really try to live up to the reputation this country has set for itself - that being a fair and just country. Land of the free, and home of the brave - where people can come to start over.