RealNews

Foreigners' Rights in the Post-9/11 Era: A Matter of Justice

More than 5,000 citizens of foreign countries have been detained by the government since 9/11 in connection with anti-terrorism measures. Only a handful have been charged with a terror-related crime. Many were held initially without charges, denied access to lawyers, judged in secret and locked up for months without any showing that they had committed crimes or otherwise posed any danger. More than 500 were deported for immigration violations. The Bush administration’s anti-terrorism campaign has set off a fierce legal and philosophical debate over what rights foreigners have compared with Americans. When is it permissible to treat noncitizens differently? Are there some rights — whether to a speedy trial or a formal charge — that transcend nationality, and should be accorded to every human being? Treating foreigners differently, of course, is nothing new for the United States government. Debates over everything from federal benefits and public school education to identification cards have bubbled up at various times. But since Sept. 11, 2001, the consequences for some foreigners have become much more severe. Full Story

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