November 4, 2001
11:16 AM   Subscribe

From the Sunday NY Times comes an article detailing an unprecedented roundup of Arabic people living in the US, some as naturalized citizens, but most under varying types of visas, (oftentimes lapsed). And release bonds are but non existent The gov's strategy seems to be to try to cast a wide net and scoop up as many "likelies" to put a wrench in "The Base's" homeland terror machine. Calling it "widescale racial profiling" like the well documented Japanese internments of WW2, defense lawyers and civil libertarians are getting constitutionally antsy about the roundup, which they say accellerated noticably after the 9/22 warnings of imminent attack. Is their alarm well founded or reflexive and hollow?
posted by BentPenguin (24 comments total)
Frankly, as a foreigner who goes through the pains and expense of keeping my visa current and valid, I should be quite insulted if other people were allowed to let their visas lapse indefinitely just because of political correctness.
posted by clevershark at 11:33 AM on November 4, 2001

allowed to let their visas lapse

That's not what it's about at all. The articles clearly demonstrate that persons are being held without bond for charges on which they would ordinarily be allowed to go free awaiting trial. Unfortunately, in many cases it is obvious they are innocent of connection to terrorism, and the DOJ is using the claim that they have not yet been ruled out as pieces in a "mosaic"... Even if one supports this, one would have to admit that one believes it is somehow justified to stand the system of justice on its head... U.S. citizens and people trying to cooperate have met with the same "preventive" paranoia from the FBI.

I've thought from the beginning that, even if you want to run a paranoid police state to counter domestic terrorism, surely it's just bad law enforcement to detain all potential suspects. Shouldn't we be marshalling the resources to watch these people? Reports are unanimous that the few being detained who actually are connected to al-Qa`ida are being 100% uncooperative—it's hard to believe they'd be that unproductive of evidence if free but surveiled.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:54 AM on November 4, 2001

You know what? Who cares if a few thousand people sit in jail for a few months. Constitutional lawyers wont have a Constitution if they nuke Washington.
posted by stbalbach at 12:10 PM on November 4, 2001

Dude, it's a bunch of guys who hijacked planes with boxcutters. They aren't going to nuke Washinton. Pull yourself together.
posted by Doug at 12:19 PM on November 4, 2001

Rounding up people with valid visas is one thing, rounding up people with lapsed visas is another.

The Chinese gov't got quite remarkably pissed when I overstayed my visa there; does that mean they're racist pigs too?

Maybe they were, or maybe they just wanted a couple grand in "fines" -- but I broke their laws, it was my fault, and they were perfectly within their rights to detain me. If I had a problem with that, then I shouldn't have broken their laws in the first place. Same goes here.

If the law permits these people to be detained for lapsed visas, then their arrests are legit -- the fact that they would have previously been let go on their own recognizance is irrelevant. Laws frequently allow for erratic application; does this actually surprise anyone?
posted by aramaic at 12:23 PM on November 4, 2001

Pardon the non sequitur, but when did the Washington Post become the Sunday New York Times?
posted by y2karl at 12:41 PM on November 4, 2001

How will nuking Washington destroy the constituion? I didn't realise the US constitution was such a delicate little thing. I also thought Americans took some pride in having a reasonable legal system - the kind where, unlike some tin-pot dictatorship in the third world (or China for that matter!), you couldn't be held indefinitely on a some obscure point of law just because it was convenient for the authorities.

And aramaic, the point isn't that these people should be allowed to stay. It's that they're been held under one law for convenience because the law appropriate for what they're suspected of wouldn't let them be treated in this way. Taking it one step further, the reason the immigration laws give the authorities so much power is because those wonderful, loving American people who care so much about freedom don't get quite as concerned if it's a foreigner whose freedom is being abused (this isn't new - I can't claim to understand the people who did 911, but it wouldn't surprise me if some of their anger came from that same insular attitude).
posted by andrew cooke at 12:43 PM on November 4, 2001

You foreigners just don't get it. Being born an American gives us an automatic moral and physical superiority. We don't have to think carefully or act reasonably or concern ourselves with being right, just, or humble in our daily lives. We are tainted with greatness despite ourselves; if we raise ourselves higher, all the better, but we know that we start higher, our bar is higher--impossibly high--and the highest among you can rarely equal our average, because WE ARE AMERICANS.

Accused of arrogance, we merely recognize our unique, special place in the world and God's plans. Our superheroes reflect us (but poorly), our television celebrates us, our economy vindicates us. Our beliefs and policies are the de facto standard for the world, and if you don't think so, then we forgive you for not knowing any better and will impose our proper will upon you for your own good and ours. You will see in time that it was for the best.

Your perspectives, your experiences, your realities are irrelevant to us. Learn English, learn capitalism, learn consumerism, buy what we're selling. You know you want it. Open your borders and open your arms. You have failed and we have succeeded; you have lost and we have won. We are strong and you are weak. We know this, because we know it. Like us, and we'll like you more and pity you less.

We let ourselves eat cake--and have it too. We choose the lady and the tiger, and you must not suggest that we cannot, or we will resent and punish you. Do not distract THIS tiger from his little green paper; aroused, we will roar at you and you will shudder at our anger and at your own insolence. We do not bully; we guide. We are always the cavalry. Only we can save the day, and save the world. We have won all our wars to our satisfaction.

We are common in our sense and our sensibilities; we are invulnerable to all that we acknowledge; we are unconflicted as to our national character and our national mandate; we are moderate in thought and values; extreme in sensitivity and reaction; and dominating in everything which we can play by our rules. We are blessed. We are better than you. We are Americans. Get over it.
posted by rushmc at 1:14 PM on November 4, 2001

Hah. Good one.
posted by kindall at 1:46 PM on November 4, 2001

holy shit!^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hwow!
is that original, rushmc?
posted by quonsar at 2:19 PM on November 4, 2001

LOL rushmc... brilliant satire.
posted by clevershark at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2001

Bravo rushmc!

Actually, this war *is* a result of the moral and cultural superiority of western secular democracy and the consequent competitive failure of Islamic societies.

What is unnerving is that Muslims are coming to America for economic opportunity with estimates that 10-15% actually support Osama. Its worse for England where this number runs as high as 40%.

Last month alien Muslims inside America killed >4,000 Americans. The government has told us there is going to be a second wave of violence.

Japanese-Americans were done wrong in WWII. They didn't commit terrorism. They supported and enlisted in the war. And, they didn't whine about being profiled.

I see no such parallels today from the Islamic-American community that would suggest any convincing loyalty to this country. The closest stories to this in the press are ones about Muslims already in the Armed Forces who "wonder" if their beliefs permit them to do their sworn duty.
posted by Real9 at 5:04 PM on November 4, 2001

No one has to convince you of shit, Real9. That's what makes America worth defending. Crap like your last paragraph threatens to make it less so.
posted by NortonDC at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2001

"Crap like your last paragraph..." ahem... I must have struck a nerve that rendered you bereft of argument. Perhaps you could take another stab at discourse.
posted by Real9 at 5:59 PM on November 4, 2001

The moment you make your assessment of me the topic of your posts, your statements in this thread cease being worthy of my consideration.

If you wish to proceed, move it to MeTa. You, Real9, will get no more of my time in this thread.
posted by NortonDC at 6:09 PM on November 4, 2001

Apparently, you had no argument. How.. sad. You cannot complain that I didn't try to drag you out of insult and into discussion.
posted by Real9 at 7:40 PM on November 4, 2001

"I see no such parallels today from the Islamic-American community that would suggest any convincing loyalty to this country." I live in an area of brooklyn that is heavily populated with people of middle-eastern decent, many of whom are, I assume, Islamic. Tons of stores (I would say all, but I haven't done a poll) have signs condemning the attacks against the US, and are, in fact, flying the American flag. If you'd like I could go around and make them swear loyalty oaths, but as signs of loyalty go, they're already doing more than I've ever done. As the sign in the window of the Islamic barber around the corner from me says, "America: Love it or Leave it."
posted by Doug at 7:57 PM on November 4, 2001

is that original, rushmc? Yep.
posted by rushmc at 8:35 PM on November 4, 2001

our economy vindicates us?

Jeez, I could use a little vindication right now...
posted by y2karl at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2001

Also, I don't buy the 10-15% figure. That works out to around 1 million people, or 1 out of every 300 people in the US. If 1 in 300 supported Osama we'd be seeing it a lot more frequently than in the newspaper.

Aside from that, even if those 10-15% did support Osama, that's a pretty weak excuse for rounding up the 85-90% who don't.

The Constitution was not created for times of peace, the constitution was created to define the limits of government operation in controversy and trouble (there's no reason to specify those rights unless you believe somebody wants to take them away). The Constitution has survived the destruction of Washington in the past, and it can survive the destruction of Washington in the future. The question is, will the Constitution survive Washington? It seems that congress thinks the way to keep freedom safe is to hide it in the garbage can.
posted by faisal at 11:26 PM on November 4, 2001

OK, so I've been asked this in the past, and now I can sympathise with the person I confused.

rushmc, that was sarcastic, right?
posted by andrew cooke at 4:15 AM on November 6, 2001

Of course it was.

Wasn't it?
posted by rushmc at 6:18 AM on November 6, 2001

I guess it may not deserves a front page link, but this related news item (detention without trial in the UK) made me ashamed of my own country...
posted by andrew cooke at 5:40 AM on November 11, 2001

hey weird, saw this on drudge and then i saw this post under recent comments and i was going to post the same thing!

there goes the free world. *says exasperatingly*
posted by kliuless at 7:36 AM on November 11, 2001

« Older Voters in Five U.S. Cities to Decide Gay Rights...   |   David Greg Harth is not afraid. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments