Op-Ed: “Ill-Advised Court Decision Strips Rights from Many Foreigners” by David Cole

June 19, 2006

Source: The Mercury News/Los Angeles Times


On June 19, 2006 the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece by Davie Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University and a volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Cole writes on the Turkmen vs. Ashcroft court decision, for which he was co-counsel to the plaintiffs: "Dismissing a case challenging the detention of Arab and Muslim foreign nationals in the weeks after Sept. 11, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson ruled that it is constitutionally permissible to round up foreign nationals on immigration charges based solely on their race, religion or country of origin. What's more, he said they can be detained indefinitely, even after they have agreed to be removed to their home countries. In essence, he authorized a repeat of the Japanese internment -- as long as the internment is limited to foreign nationals charged with visa violations (a group that at last count numbered about 11 million people). The case, Turkmen vs. Ashcroft, was filed on behalf of Arab and Muslim foreign nationals swept up on the pretext of immigration charges in the weeks after Sept. 11. Many initially were arrested on no charges at all -- only to be served with immigration papers days, weeks or sometimes months later. All were arrested in secret and hundreds were tried in closed hearings that even their family members were not allowed to attend."