Justice Department's Report on Handling of Illegal Immigrants Post-September 11

June 2, 2003

Source: New York Times

On June 2, 2003 the New York Times reported that "the Justice Department's roundup of hundreds of illegal immigrants in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks was plagued with 'significant problems' that forced many people with no connection to terrorism to languish in jails in unduly harsh conditions, an internal report released today found... [The report] concluded that F.B.I. officials, particularly in New York City, 'made little attempt to distinguish' between immigrants who had possible ties to terrorism and those swept up by chance in the investigation... A total of 762 illegal immigrants were jailed in the weeks and months after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon... Most of the 762 immigrants have now been deported, and none have been charged as terrorists... The report spotlighted cases of unfair treatment. A Muslim man, for instance, was arrested when an acquaintance wrote to officials that the man had made 'anti-American statements.' The statements 'were very general and did not involve threats of violence or suggest any direct connection to terrorism,' the report found, but the man had overstayed his visa and was held... The findings 'confirm our long-held view that civil liberties and the rights of immigrants were trampled in the aftermath of 9/11,' said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union."