There have been a number of disturbing reports that the Bush Administration is using the USA Patriot Act in cases that aren't related to terrorism. Now the New Jersey Law Journal reports that the government is using another anti-terrorism rule in non-terrorism cases, this time targeting sex offenders.
The American Association of University Professors Special Committee on Academic Freedom and National Security an a Time of Crisis has published a report.
The report looks at the effects of the Patriot Act on academic institutions, the problems that researchers are facing because of government restrictions on information, concerns over the increased scrutiny of foreign students and scholars, and the general campus climate.
The Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights has issued a report called "The New Normal", which surveys the legal landscape post-9/11. Chapter 3 focuses on laws and policies that affect immigrants and refugees.
Much of what is contained in the report will be familiar to readers of LegalWrites. It reviews the latest status of the September 11 detainees, of special registration, and of community interviews, all of which I discussed briefly in Target: Immigrants. It also looks at CLEAR, which is the newest assault on immigrant rights.
The report also examines policies affecting refugees and asylum-seekers, a topic I haven't yet covered here. It singles out three policies as particularly egregious.
Much of the debate about undocumented workers (illegal immigrants) seems to blame only the immigrants for the problem. But in many cases it is the employers who are to blame. Why? They want cheap, docile labor.
In case after case, employers deliberately hire - and even actively recruit - undocumented immigrants, then use the threat of deportation to force the immigrants to accept unsafe working conditions, lower than minimum-wage pay, and lack of basic protections like worker's compensation for on-the-job injuries. They also retaliate against workers who protest these conditions or attempt to form unions, confident that this otherwise illegal behavior is OK as long as the workers are undocumented. Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has aptly described the state of undocumented workers today as "a kind of slavery."
Greenpeace is an activist organization whose members frequently engage in acts of civil disobedience. As such, it's used to court proceedings and criminal trials. But those proceedings and trials have always been of the people who actually carried out the protest actions, not of the organization as a whole.
My very first post to Open Source Politics almost a month and a half ago was about how immigration law all too often traps victims of domestic violence, forcing them to choose between staying in an abusive marriage or being deported.
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered an opinion that is a small but important step forward.
Everybody agrees after 9/11 that America needs a more effective way of preventing terrorists from getting on airplanes. The Bush Administration has proposed a new system called Computer Assisted Pre-Passenger Screening (CAPPS II).
In March of this year, there was a small furor over reports that CAPPS II was going to use credit and consumer information to build its passenger profiles. It looked after that like CAPPS II was dead.
But CAPPS II is alive again.
Illegal immigrants have broken the law, so shouldn't the police be able to investigate and arrest them? That's the argument for the CLEAR Act (Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act; not to be confused with the Clean Efficient Automobiles Resulting from Advanced Car Technologies Act, also called CLEAR). A hearing will be held on this bill on October 1.
The logic of the pro-CLEAR argument is weak. Income tax evasion is also a violation of the law, but we don't ask local law enforcement authorities to investigate the tax status of everyone in the community. That's what the IRS is for. Similarly, immigration violations are already investigated by the INS (now part of the Department of Homeland Security). But CLEAR's flaws go even beyond this.
Administrative subpoena. It sounds so innocuous, boring even. Yet HR3037, a new bill introduced1 in the House of Representatives to allow the use of administrative subpoenas in terrorism investigations, is a serious threat to our Constitutional liberties.