Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Law is an Ass

Now that the renewal of the Patriot Act has slipped the surly bonds of Congress and the doggerel wends its mirthless way to the White House, conflicted real world implications of the ill-considered law are leaving thousands of refugees stranded and in legal limbo -- a direct result of thoughtless provisions within this ghastly bill.

NY Times is reporting how some 9500 Burmese refugees' relocation to the US is being held up because stipulations within the Patriot Act disallow dissidents or even those who may have supported such activity in other, usually repressive, countries should not be allowed entrance into the US. And, in incredibly conflicted turn, while the US continues to ostracize and sanction the Castro government, Cuban refugees who supported armed resistance to the Castro regime are now regarded as terrorists by the Patriot Act:
The Burmese are the largest of several groups, including refugees from Cuba, Vietnam, Liberia and Somalia, whose admission to the United States has been jeopardized by a provision in the USA Patriot Act that denies entry to anyone who has provided material support to a terrorist or armed rebel group. The provision applies even if that support was coerced or the aims of the group in question match those of American foreign policy.
In the world envisioned by the Patriot Act, unencumbered as it is by thought or experience, support of terrorists is rather broadly defined. Take, for example, the tale of one Colombian woman whose husband was killed by rebels, was then raped by said same and, in a final act of abuse, had her livestock stolen:
Those affected by the law include a Colombian woman forced by rebels to hand over livestock. The rebels killed her husband and raped her before she escaped the country. Because her forced support for the rebels would bar her from admission to the United States.
Fortuntately for her, the UN resettled the woman elsewhere. But in America, the woman was barred entry because, under provisions of the Patriot Act, her "behaviour" was technically considered "support" for a terrorist organisation.

It gets worse.

Afghani refugees who supported the Northern Alliance and were allied with US forces in routing the Taliban are also being denied asylum because resistance to government, even one with which the US is in armed conflict, is also viewed dimly by the blind eyes of the Patriot Act.

This begs the somewhat facetious question, if the Patriot Act had existed in the eighties, when the CIA was helping fund and arm the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, would CIA agents have been barred re-entry to the United States?

Mr. Bumble once said that, "if the law supposes that, the law is an ass." This is certainly not more appropriate than when the law under consideration is the loathesome Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act is surely an ass. It is, of course, a representative product of the administration that wrote it and the Congress that voted it into law.


Post a Comment

<< Home