Thursday, March 27, 2008

Talk about your Catch-22's...

Yet another shining example of the idiocy of our federal government with these chuckleheads at the helm.

The Immigration Service allows people who fought in those developing-world, U.S. funded guerrilla wars on our behalf - to enter the country and seek refugee status or a ruling on asylum. But then, the same agency turns around and denies them permanent resident status because fighting guerrilla wars is defined as terrorism:

Most of the applications involve people linked to groups that U.S. immigration and counterterrorism laws have defined as "undesignated terrorist organizations" because they took armed action against a foreign government. The groups include U.S. allies that fought against former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Taliban government in Afghanistan....

[Deputy director Jonathan] Scharfen said that USCIS recognized the illogic of admitting immigrants under one provision of the law and then labeling them terrorists for green card purposes, calling it a "very good question." At the same time, he said, the restrictions are "written so that the definition of a terrorist organization and activity is very, very broad." Even groups that have been "closely associated with the United States," such as Montagnard tribesmen who fought with U.S. forces in Vietnam, "fall under the definitions."

Do I even have to say it? I mean it's so cliche, but at the same time so true...One man's freedom fighter is another mans terrorist, it just depends on who you ask. Fortunately, the Immigration Service announced yesterday that they will be suspending the policy while it is reviewed, and a more "logical, common-sense" set of rules can be developed. The future of thousands of people hangs in the balance.

But wait...there's more...even if Immigration decides on a fair, common-sense set of rules, we have a couple of particularly egregious federal laws that codify the stupid in the federal statures.

The Patriot Act and Real ID Act both specifically spell out that opposing the government - any government - is enough to bar permanent residency.

The catalyst for yesterday's decision, Scharfen and other officials said, was a Washington Post article last weekend about a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq. Saman Kareem Ahmad, 38, arrived in the United States under a special visa program for those assisting the nation's war effort, after his life was threatened in Iraq. He had received commendations from the secretary of the Navy and then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, now the top U.S. commander in Iraq, as well as strong support from Marine and Army officers with whom he had worked. Ahmad was later granted political asylum, but his application for permanent residence was denied last month on grounds he had once served with Kurdish military forces that fought against Hussein.

The USCIS letter denying Ahmad's petition said that the Kurdistan Democratic Party forces fit the definition of terrorist, based on information it had gleaned from public Web sites, because KDP forces "conducted full-scale armed attacks and helped incite rebellions against Hussein's regime, most notably during the Iran-Iraq war, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom."

The KDP, a U.S. ally, is now part of the elected Iraqi government, and Ahmad teaches Arabic language and culture at the Marine Corps base in Quantico and other military facilities, working with Marines who are about to deploy to Iraq. Although the letter said the denial could not be appealed, Scharfen said yesterday that Ahmad's case is now "under review" and should be resolved "in a matter of days."

Yes - the US was fighting Hussein, and Ahmed was fighting Hussein. He helped us fight Hussein. He was admitted to the country because he fought Hussein. And then, he was denied status...because he fought Hussein. WTF???

I'm not sure what it will take to fix this - or even if it can be fixed so long as aWol is in office, but this demands justice. For everyone, not just the occasional Saman Kareem Ahmad who has enough juice to get a hearing.

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