ADC Renews Call on Government to Drop LA8 Case Deportations
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today renewed its call on the Bush Administration to end its15-year long campaign to deport two Palestinian permanent residents because of their alleged political views and associations. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced its intention to pursue deportations against the two men – Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh – under provisions of the McCarran-Walter Act that were declared unconstitutional by a district court in 1989, and repealed by Congress in 1990. The provisions technically could still apply in this case, because the 1990 repeal did not including deportation cases pending at the time, although they have not been enforced in any case in almost 2 decades. Hamide and Shehadeh were part of the LA8, a group of 7 seven Palestinians and a Kenyan, who first faced deportation charges in 1987 for their alleged political views and associations. At the time, FBI Director William Webster testified in Congress that “if these individuals had been United States citizens, there would not have been a basis for their arrest.” Both men are permanent residents who have lived here for three decades with their American spouses and children.
In recent months, both former ADC President Ziad Asali and ADC’s new President, Mary Rose Oaker, have written separately to the Bush Administration urging that all attempts to deport Hamide and Shehadeh be permanently abandoned.
The men are defended by David Cole, a volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights and professor at Georgetown University Law Center, Marc Van Der Hout, for the National Lawyers Guild, and Leonard Weinglass. David Cole said, “It is outrageous that the government is dusting off a statute declared unconstitutional 14 years ago and repealed by Congress 13 years ago to target men who it has long admitted engaged in no criminal activity whatsoever. This has always been a case of guilt by association, and nothing more. We are very disappointed that the government has decided to waste still more resources seeking to deport two law-abiding men who have made the United States their home for three decades.”