Ashcroft Rules Immigrants Can Be Held Indefinitely
In yet another grab for power and blow to justice, Attorney General John Ashcroft has issued a legal opinion declaring that most illegal immigrants can be jailed indefinitely without bond when national security risks exist.
The opinion means such aliens will not be released on bond while their cases are being decided by immigration judges if the government can show national security issues are involved. "Such national security considerations clearly constitute a reasonable foundation for the exercise of my discretion to deny release on bond," Ashcroft said in the 19-page opinion, which was signed last Friday.The opinion was written at the request of the Homeland Security Department which now oversees immigration matters. The case involved the continued detention of one of the 216 Haitain immigrants on a boat that ran amuck in Miami last October, who had jumped into the bay and reached U.S. land. 100 of the immigrants had been granted bond, and Ashcroft's decision likely will affect them as well, according to immigration law experts. The National Coalition for Haitian Rights will appeal the decision.
Dina Paul Parks, the New York-based coalition's executive director, said the decision further erodes immigrants' legal rights. "If you were lucky enough to get a sympathetic judge you could potentially get released on bond. Now even that prospect is taken away," she said.Ashcroft's opinion applies to all immigrants except Cubans, who if they reach shore, are allowed to remain here. [thanks to Linkmeister for emailing the article to us.]
Update: The text of the opinon is here.
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