The INS dententions and mass…

The INS dententions and mass arrests aren’t just happening in L.A.

They are also happening in Houston and Cleveland.  Here in L.A., 3,000 people, mostly Iranian protested the day after the arrests, with the organizing being done by Persian radio. Similar protests are happening in Houston and Cleveland. We hope to have more news soon from a Green in Cleveland. The photo, by James Odling, was taken at one of the many protests Saturday in L.A.

What’s worse, this whole blundering heavy handed assault by the INS, never exactly the sharpest tack in the box in the first place, will no doubt backfire.

“Fears raised by the detention of hundreds of foreigners last week could discourage future turnout for a registration process designed to detect potential terrorists, Muslim leaders and immigration lawyers are warning.”

 Also, of course, any real terrorists won’t be going to a “voluntary check-in” at an INS center.

The treatment of the detainees appears to violate the Constitution.

“An immigration attorney Sunday accused the Immigration and Naturalization Service of subjecting her clients to “atrocious and inhumane” treatment after they were arrested last week as part of the USA Patriot Act registration program for men from five Muslim countries.

in the San Francisco Bay Area, Akhlaghi said, those who were detained were subjected to a multi-state odyssey as federal officials hunted for empty jail cells. Her clients, she said, were bused to Oakland and then flown to Arizona, Chicago, Kentucky and Bakersfield before returning to Oakland for the flight to San Diego, where they are being held in a privately run jail under contract to the city of San Diego.”

On KPFK today, another immigration lawyer said INS told her they didn’t know where her clients were! She told them her clients were in San Diego because they had just, at last, been allowed to call her.

INS also said her clients were “not in the court system” because they couldn’t determine who had jurisdiction.  INS also told her that she, a lawyer, will not be allowed to speak with her clients. She plans to go to the jail with TV crews so they can record a lawyer being refused to confer with a client.

Statement from Green Party of Iran

“According to the reports, many Iranian respondents to the call by INS had a “still pending” status and would not be considered illegal at the time of arrest. The victims’ families say their beloved were kept in hunger and denied drinking water for couple of days while there was a lack of minimum human condition for living. In some cases, they spent all night long standing, because of lack of space in the room of 50 or 100 to be seated. As of December 17, 2002, many Iranians still are in various detention centers and prisons throughout the states. Some compare the recent move by the Bush Administration against Iranian citizens to the rounding up of Japanese into the concentration camp in the World War II. “

ACLU Calls immigrant registration program pretext for mass detention

“In a development that confirms the American Civil Liberties Union’s initial fears about a controversial immigrant fingerprinting and registration program, the Immigration and Naturalization Service is apparently using the program as a pretext for the mass detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern and Muslim men and boys.

“Given the evidence, there is no alarmism in saying this is a round-up,” said Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Attorney General Ashcroft is using the immigrant registration program to lock up people who already have provided extensive information as part of their green card applications,” he said. “Therefore the purpose is clearly not to get information but rather to selectively arrest, detain and deport Middle Eastern and Muslim men in the United States.”

Reuters reports

Calif. Muslims Detained in Crowded, Cold Centers

“Hundreds of Muslim men and boys are being subjected to strip searches in freezing, standing room only detention centers in southern California after being arrested for routine visa irregularities, immigration lawyers said on Thursday.

They estimated that between 1,000 and 2,500 males, some as young as 16, were spending their fourth day locked up in what they called inhumane conditions after voluntarily presenting themselves at immigration offices to register under new anti-terrorism rules.

“The situation in the detention centers is absolutely horrifying. In one center, they were ordered to strip down and given a strip search. They were only given a prison jumpsuit, without any underwear, T-shirts, socks or shoes. They were not given blankets. They are freezing,” Iranian-American lawyer Sohelia Jonoubi told Reuters.”