November 19, 2001
7:19 AM   Subscribe

A story about Rasa Nasir Khan a seemingly regular guy whose only crime is an expired visa and ethnicity, and a passion for hunting. He is one of over a thousand people being held in connection with 9-11 even though his jailers acknowlege that he has no connection whatsoever with terrorism.
posted by Danf (18 comments total)
No, an expired visa is not his only crime, the gun charges are. And since those are a felony he's likely to be deported. And since he's likely to be deported he's a flight risk, which means no bail. And since those are legitimate judicial reasons, and any connection with the terrorist attacks has been ruled out, he is not "held in connection with 9-11". He's caught up in the new zero-tolerance immigration policy, which though it might be questionable as policy, is the law of the land; Congress tightened the rules with great publicity two years ago.
posted by dhartung at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2001

dhartung is right on. The guy broke the law. He is facing the consequences. Whether or not 9/11 was the catalyst for picking him up is irrelevant, because he had no right to be in the country or to have guns in his possession due to his status. If he'd kept his visa in order, there'd be no story here.
posted by Dreama at 7:49 AM on November 19, 2001

then deport him. don't keep him detained for 2 months. and the same goes for the 1200 people.

deport him and the others before there is another person who dies from a heart attack while waiting to be deported.
posted by m2bcubed at 7:55 AM on November 19, 2001

But dreama and dhartung (thank you for your comments, btw) how many people of European origin are in the country on expired visas, who might also have firearms which are posessed with no intent to cause human mayhem? The fact that this guy is from the middle east, and was reported by a fish and game guy as being suspicious. . .isn't that a bit chilling? Would someone of British origin, under the same circumstances, have been turned in this way?
posted by Danf at 7:58 AM on November 19, 2001

danf, i agree wholeheartedly with that. if we are merely looking at expired visas, are we in search of ALL people with expired visas or certain names that sound muslim?

we have a president who wanted to legalize mexicans and only mexicans regardless of their status (prior to 9/11)...merely to get votes...we have a country wanting to take action against anyone of middle eastern/south asian/somali descent (post 9/11). this will not be an issue of expired visas (and other laws broken), it will merely be a roundup of muslim people.

dreama, i do agree that it is the responsibility of the individual to keep their visa in order, but are they questioning everyone's visa? all ethnicities?
posted by m2bcubed at 8:17 AM on November 19, 2001

My guess is that the combination of Arab descent and expired visa is going to send a lot of people packing in the next year or two. Though Mr. Khan sounds, from the story, like the kind of person we should be making allowances to keep, I can't say I'm against a no-tolerance policy where expired visas are concerned.
posted by rcade at 8:40 AM on November 19, 2001

You have to play by the rules and he wasn't. He knew the rules and chose not to update his visa. Too bad for him.

Yes, I agree that we shouldn't keep all the people locked up, but I also think it's a good thing to do until we're sure they aren't going to slink back to Al Queda somewhere else.

Racial profiling is a bummer, but the cold hard facts are that there aren't a lot of Spainards and English and Germans BLOWING UP BUILDINGS IN THIS COUNTRY. That lovely prize is going to people of Middle-Eastern descent. If profiling makes me safer, so be it.
posted by aacheson at 8:53 AM on November 19, 2001

but. why can't they just send the people back? after they find that there is no reason to suspect that they play a part in the 911 attacks or other possible terroristic acts?

if all they are committing is a violation of a visa, then punish them for that, and that alone. at this point, is this just a problem with the INS and their inability to do it's job?
posted by m2bcubed at 9:03 AM on November 19, 2001

I think their intent is to send them back. However, they have 1200 people and want to make sure that they aren't terrorists before they are released. It's a heck of a lot easier to hold them now then release them and have to find them again!
I imagine it takes a long time to do the research on 1200 people. In this guy's case, since they're sure he's not a terrorist, he should have been sent back by now. And, if he gets a proper visa, he should be let back in again.
posted by aacheson at 9:40 AM on November 19, 2001

That's archery deer-hunting season in Delaware, but the guns are a major no-no. Send him home (after confiscating all the weaponry).
posted by Carol Anne at 11:16 AM on November 19, 2001

Carol, according the article when he was found in the woods, he was in the woods with a bow and a GPS. the guns were at home.

Just to clarify :)
posted by cell divide at 11:26 AM on November 19, 2001

Oops! Caught speed-reading. Thanks, cell divide.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:47 AM on November 19, 2001

I agree that an expired visa and illegal weapons ought to send the guy packing. However, detaining him as a terrorist suspect relieves him of certain rights which, as a visitor to this country, he would otherwise have, even if held on another charge. That is why this situation is troublesome, and why we can criticize the government for holding him.
posted by Hildago at 12:17 PM on November 19, 2001

It stinks that people can't just live in the country of their choice.
It stinks that his parents are made to worry and suffer.
It stinks that people are driven to dealing with foreigners suspiciously.

But is there any other way?
posted by dness2 at 12:25 PM on November 19, 2001

I suspect that he is being held because they haven't had a trial yet. That implies that he is not pleading guilty. I suspect he is trying not to get deported. Detention in any jail is not comfy, even for citizens.
posted by dness2 at 12:28 PM on November 19, 2001

then deport him. don't keep him detained for 2 months. and the same goes for the 1200 people.

It doesn't work that way, the next step would be an INS jail. Then the INS would get his country of origin to pay for his flight and handling. If they refuse to pay he, like hundreds of others, will be spending a great deal of time in INS prisons.
posted by skallas at 12:55 PM on November 19, 2001

so which costs more? keeping him in the jails or paying for the flight and handling?
posted by m2bcubed at 1:13 PM on November 19, 2001

Danf: he was caught because of excessive caution on the wildlife officer, but you're wrong if you believe that only Muslims are getting deported because of stricter immigration laws. The INS is supposed to be keeping a closer eye on local prosecutions, and now they're going to be building an even better database system to help them with enforcement.

skallas is right. The deportation can't occur until the legal process proceeds; that's standard. That he's being held is, according to the judge, a matter of the gun crime, and nothing more.

m2b: It doesn't matter. If nobody takes him, we don't have a choice but to hold him.

There's going to be more cases like this, because a) we have a new immigration law, b) we have a less sympathetic AG and INS, and c) we had 9/11 which means that minimal tolerance has fallen to zero tolerance. And often the discretion isn't going to be in the hands of the judges.
posted by dhartung at 7:28 PM on November 19, 2001

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