US threatens mass expulsions

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Monday, June 09, 2003 at 2:27PM :

OK, so why don't the INS officials "crack down" on all the Latin American illegal immigrants? Because those poor people provide the ultra-cheap labor the rich white folks can't live without? Not to stereotype Latin American peoples, but there are a LOT of poor people around here who managed to smuggle themselves out of Mexico, etc. just to make it to the U.S. & live in make-shift huts to work on farms & to work as maids and construction workers for pay that's usually below minimum wage (since the really wealthy can't afford to pay their staff & workers a decent living wage, with all their house & car payments & trips all over the place...). I suppose if there were more "Arabs" doing their dirty work, the rich white folks would be "influencing" the media to shut up about illegal "Arab" immigrants. This country is made for rich people, & the Republican party is the party of the rich who have NO social consciences. The other rich (the ones who have social consciences) prefer to align themselves with the Democrats.
Monday, 9 June, 2003, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
BBC World News
US threatens mass expulsions

More than 13,000 Arab and Muslim men in the US are facing deportation after co-operating with post-11 September anti-terror measures, it has been revealed.

They are among 82,000 adult males who obeyed a government demand to register with the immigration service earlier this year, on the grounds they come from 25 mainly Muslim countries said to harbour terror groups.

Only 11 of those who registered, and of the tens of thousands more screened at airports and border crossings, have been found to have links with terrorism.

The vast bulk of those facing deportation proceedings were found to have lapses in their immigration status. By co-operating fully with the demand to register, many had hoped to be treated leniently.

But the immigration service - which faced a backlash after several of the 11 September hijackers were found to have been in the country illegally - says enforcement is now a top priority.

Correspondents say families in immigrant communities have already started packing up to leave the country, while others are simply going underground.

Mass arrests

Officials told the New York Times that more than 600 Arab and Muslim illegal immigrants were deported during the first wave of expulsions after 11 September.

But the Department of Justice stopped releasing figures after the number of arrests reached 1,200, says the paper, and no complete statistics are now available.

Last year authorities launched a drive to track down those already served with deportation orders, in which more than 3,000 arrests were made.

But this third sweep for illegal immigrants seems set to produce the largest wave of deportations: 13,354 at the last count, compiled by American newspapers.

"There's been a major shift in our priorities," Jim Chaparro told the New York Times. He is acting director for interior enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security - which has now absorbed the old immigration service.

"We need to focus our enforcement efforts on the biggest threats. If a loophole can be exploited by an immigrant, it can also be exploited by a terrorist," he said.

'Good conscience'

But critics say the latest crackdown on immigrants is unfair and racist.

"People did register out of their good conscience, because they wanted to follow the rules, respect the law," said Fayiz Rahman of the American Muslim Council.

He says the policy is "targeted only toward Muslims.

"This is a major concern. They are planning to reduce the number of Muslims on American soil... discourage Muslim immigration, make our lives difficult."

Other critics say some of those awaiting deportation had only violated immigration rules due to a backlog in processing of applications by the government.

Added to the controversy is a report released by the Department of Justice on Monday, which found "significant problems" in the way many immigrants arrested after the 11 September attacks were treated.

Many were chained, physically and verbally abused, held without bail and denied access to lawyers, says the report, according to news agency AFP.

But immigration officials defend the clampdown on immigrants.

"We get criticised every day for not following through," said Bill Strassberger, spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We can't have a legitimate immigration system if we allow people to come and just do what they want. It's not fair to those who do comply with the rules."

-- Sadie
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