Skip to comments.20-year deportation case against two Palestinian men dismissed (two accused of PFLP support)
Posted on 10/31/2007 6:49:56 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
A marathon deportation case against two Palestinian immigrants, pursued by the administrations of four U.S. Presidents over 20 years, has been dismissed.
The ruling closes a Byzantine legal saga that wound its way through federal appellate courts, the U.S. Supreme Court and federal immigration boards, breaking new legal ground along the way. It ended at the Department of Homeland Security, where the dismissal order was entered Tuesday.
One of the defendants, Khader Musa Hamide, said in an interview that he will never get over the experience of being under suspicion for 20 years but now "I can breathe better."
A statement from DHS said that "after thorough analysis and investigation, the United States Government has no information indicating that Khader Musa Hamide and Michel Ibrahim Shehadeh currently pose a threat to national security."
"It's a huge victory and certainly a relief for our clients who have lived with this cloud over them for 20 years," said attorney David Cole, a Georgetown University Law School professor who was one of several lawyers who pursued the case from its inception.
Cole represented the Center for Constitutional Rights, which fought the case along with the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Hamide, 53, who is a wholesaler of coffee and tea in Southern California, said his family was followed, wiretapped and subjected to extreme surveillance.
"They moved an FBI agent into the apartment next door to ours," he recalled. "All of this will affect me for the rest of my life. I'm somewhat paranoid. I can't have a conversation even in my own home without thinking someone is listening."
Hamide said he was gratified to have found a cadre of civil rights lawyers who were willing to fight for him and the other defendants who originally were known as the LA-8. His wife was one of those arrested but her case was dismissed earlier along with those of five others in the group.
The lawyers "were trying to defend the Constitution. It was a test case from the beginning," Hamide said.
The LA-8 were arrested for alleged associations with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The group, a radical offshoot of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has opposed peace negotiations between the PLO and Israel. The U.S. government considers it a terrorist organization.
The eight have all denied being members, and immigrant rights groups have called the case politically motivated.
Cole said they were originally arrested for distributing magazines and setting up charitable fund raising dinners. He said Hamide and Shehadeh were the only ones accused of providing material support to the PFLP while the others were charged with visa violations. They spent 27 days in prison and 20 years fighting the case.
Hamide and Cole said that one of the great achievements in the long legal war was a ruling that held that immigrants were entitled to the same First Amendment rights as U.S. citizens. That decision, first made by a federal judge in their case in 1989, was affirmed in a landmark decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995.
During the years of litigation, Congress amended the Immigration Act and government lawyers appealed decisions that favored the defendants. The U.S. Supreme Court dealt them a blow in 1999 by ruling that aliens have no right to object to being targeted for deportation because of their political affiliations.
Subsequent to the 911 attacks, the U.S. Patriot Act was born and charges against Hamideh and Shehadeh were twice amended as the case landed before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
In January, an immigration judge ruled the government had denied both men due process by keeping them in legal limbo for so many years and being unprepared to prosecute the case.
In his 11-page opinion, Judge Bruce J. Einhorn described the proceedings as "a festering wound on the body of respondents and an embarrassment to the rule of law."
The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed the case at the request of the government.
"You have to give the Bush administration credit for doing this," said Cole. "This case began under President Reagan. It continued under the first President Bush and President Clinton. A lot of people had a substantial period of time invested in the case and were unwilling to let it go away."
The dismissal ruling prevents Hamide and Shehadeh from applying for citizenship for three years. Hamide said he plans to do so when he can, but he's not sure he will ever again attempt activism.
"I would like to do humanitarian work to help the suffering Palestinians," he said. "But I have to be very careful because of the provisions of the Patriot Act. These are very scary things."
You’re the one that’s scary, buddy, not the Patriot Act. Oh yes and the Supremes, who decided that — WHAT??? — you cannot deport illegals just because they want to destroy this country.
oh right, THAT makes sense. you bet.
The Ninth Circus wins again....and we lose.
Just another way for jorge and jerkoff to grant amnesty.
I think it means 'a byzantine legal saga': I doubt the charter of any Athonite monasteries or any Orthodox canon law derived from Imperial novellas--the last surviving functional Byzantine law--were involved in any way.
Palestinians should not be allowed into this country as they ALL are terorists.