Thursday, June 03, 2004

Reason #101 to Feel Safer

We hold American citizens and 'enemy combatants' indefinitely but this guy we deport to his terrorist homeland?
The Bush administration in January deported al-Marabh to Syria — his home and a country the U.S. government long has regarded as a sponsor of terrorism.

The quiet end to al-Marabh's case provides a stark contrast to other cases in which the Bush administration has held suspects without lawyers as enemy combatants. It also contrasts with the terms FBI agents used to describe al-Marabh in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Al-Marabh "intended to martyr himself in an attack against the United States," an FBI agent wrote in December 2002. A footnote in al-Marabh's deportation ruling last year added, "The FBI has been unable to rule out the possibility that al-Marabh has engaged in terrorist activity or will do so if he is not removed from the United States."

One FBI report summarized a high-level debriefing of a Jordanian informant named Ahmed Y. Ashwas that was conducted personally by the U.S. attorney in Chicago. The informant claimed al-Marabh told him of specific terrorist plans during their time in prison while al-Marabh was serving an eight-month sentence for entering the United States illegally.

Even the federal judge who accepted al-Marabh's plea agreement on minor immigration charges in 2002 balked. "Something about this case just makes me feel uncomfortable," Judge Richard Arcara said in court. The Justice Department assured the judge that al-Marabh did not have terrorist ties.

A second judge who ultimately ordered al-Marabh's deportation sided with FBI agents, federal prosecutors and Customs Service agents in the field who believed al-Marabh was tied to terrorism.

"The court finds applicant does present a danger to national security," U.S. Immigration Judge Robert D. Newberry ruled, concluding al-Marabh was "credibly linked to elements of terrorism" and had a "propensity to lie."

Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra said Wednesday the government has concerns about many people with suspected terror ties, including al-Marabh, but cannot effectively try them in court without giving away intelligence sources and methods.

"If the government cannot prosecute terrorism charges, another option is to remove the individual from the United States via deportation. After careful review, this was determined to be the best option available under the law to protect our national security," he said.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Yes, deportation is such an effective tool. A little historical nugget. In 1991, the first 'hit' was obtained in a DNA database. The search identified an hispanic male with a long criminal history as the individual who raped and murdered a 23 year-old co-ed. The man had never been tried and convicted for any of his crimes, never served any time in prison. On the other hand, he had been deported 11 times. At the time of his arrest for this homicide, he was in jail; his assault attempt on another woman was thwarted when her son came home. Yeah, let's just deport them.


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