lawsuit filed over mass arrests

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Posted by Sadie from D007075.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 at 1:57AM :

In Reply to: Registration Internet Questionnaire posted by Sadie from D007075.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 at 1:53AM :

ADC, AIA, CAIR File Lawsuit against Government over Mass Arrests in LA

Washington, DC, Dec. 24- Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC), the Alliance of Iranian Americans (AIA), and the
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District
of California against John Ashcroft; Attorney General of the United
States, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The
essence of the lawsuit is that on Dec. 16-18, the INS unlawfully
arrested large numbers of people, especially in Los Angeles, as they
came forward to voluntarily comply with new "special registration"
requirements. The groups are seeking an injunction before the next
registration deadline to avoid a repetition of last week's mass
arrests. Six individuals detained as a result of the new INS policy of
special registrations are co-plaintiffs, and represent a broader group
of victims in this class action suit.

The lawsuit takes issue with four aspects of the recent detentions:
* The detentions were illegal because the government did not obtain
the necessary arrest warrants;
* It is unlawful and unjust to deport people who have been slated for
adjustment of status and who have complied with the law at every
*Detainees are being held without bail or bond, and are subject to
deportation without due process;
*The fear of mass arrests created by these detentions will inhibit
compliance by people facing similar registration deadlines in the near

The groups are seeking:
*An injunction ordering the government not arrest any additional
persons in the "special registration" process without appropriate
warrants from federal judges;
* An order preventing the deportation of detainees without due process.

Although the special registration policy has been presented as a
national security measure designed to counter potential terrorist
threats, the INS has been using the registration process to not only
enforce immigration law but to arrest and deport people who have
complied with the law at every stage and are on the road to becoming
permanent residents. The effort to deport law-abiding people who could
just as easily be allowed to continue the immigration process
seriously undermines prospects for future compliance and constitutes
an absurd waste of resources. The mass arrests have further eroded
confidence in the fairness of the INS and immigration system among
Arab and Muslim communities.

Dec. 16 was the first in a series of deadlines for special
registration, which are set to culminate in 2004 with the registration
of all foreign nationals in the United States. The mass arrests which
took place in Los Angeles last week, and the lawsuit filed today, have
profound significance for the future of the registration process in
many immigrant communities, and immigrants' rights in general.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Peter A. Schey and Carlos R.
Holguin of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Other
co-counsel include several attorneys in the ADC Legal Department,
Babak Sotoodeh of AIA, Khurrum Wahid of CAIR, Joannie Chang of the
Asian Law Caucus, and several California law firms.

-- Sadie
-- signature .

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