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Comments by YACCS

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Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Burying the lede
I am as critical as the next blogger about abuses of police power, but when Partha writes about post-9/11 immigration enforcement that "what was done was not legal", he's simply exhibiting the knee-jerk reaction the New York Times wants him to. He skips the eighth word in the very first sentence of the article. Hundreds of illegal immigrants were rounded up. It is not, of course, "un-American and un-Constitutional" to detain and then deport illegal immigrants.

The article begins by pointing out that many of the people arrested had no connection to terrorism, and then goes into great detail about their treatment, but underplays considerably the fact that the people who were detained were, in fact, criminals. Indeed, as the article notes, "most of the 762 immigrants have now been deported." Although the Times does include one sentence suggesting actual legal problems --
But the inspector general's report found that some lawyers in the department raised concerns about the legality of the tactics, only to be overridden by senior officials.
- it fails to elaborate on this in any way, or provide any evidence to back up the suggestion that laws were broken or rights were violated.

This is part of a pattern of New York Times stories portraying illegal immigrants as victims, rather than criminals. It's apparently true that (a) most of those arrested were not dangerous, and (b) most of these people would never have been arrested had it not been for the post-9/11 crackdown. As such, it would be reasonable to question whether post-9/11 immigration enforcement has been efficient or even effective. But that in no way is synonymous with the idea that these people were wrongly arrested. If the Times wishes to take the last as its editorial position, if they wish to argue that the nation's immigration laws shouldn't be enforced, they should do so overtly, rather than using the news section to repeatedly insinuate that the government violated the rights of criminals by arresting them. And if the Times has evidence that laws were actually broken, it should say so.

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