LA 8 Win Yet Another Ruling Against the Government
The LA 8 have won yet another round in the long-standing attempt by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to deport them. For 14 years, the government has sought the deportation of seven Palestinians and a Kenyan, also known as the “LA 8,” because of their support for Palestinian human and national rights. In a June 21 ruling made public on June 26, Immigration Judge Bruce J. Einhorn held that if the Justice Department wishes to proceed with the deportations of two of the LA 8, long time legal residents Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh, it must do so under the McCarran-Walter Act charges under which they were first arrested. Since these laws are no longer in effect, it is clear that any further attempt to deport any of the LA 8 would be nothing more than persecution. ADC President Hala Maksoud said “we appeal to Attorney General John Ashcroft to drop this outrageous 14-year prosecution of the LA 8. It needs to end now, once and for all.”
The LA 8 case has been in litigation since 1987, and been reviewed and rejected on the merits by no less than nine judges. The 8 were originally arrested under the McCarthy era McCarran-Walter Act on charges of advocating world communism, which at that time was a crime. These charges were dropped, but the LA 8 were then accused, under a different section of the Act, of advocating the killing of government officials and the unlawful destruction of property. None of these charges could be sustained in any way, and the FBI turned the LA 8 over to the INS for deportation. The LA 8 won an injunction preventing INS from going forward with the deportation process on the grounds of selective enforcement of the law, since all parties agreed that they were being singled out for their pro-Palestinian political views. The government freely admitted that had the LA 8 been citizens, all the activities which deportation proceedings were based on would have been protected by the First Amendment. A 1999 Supreme Court ruling in the LA 8 case (ADC v. Reno) held that immigrants facing deportation cannot obtain such injunctions from District Court judges, opening the way for the government to renew its attempts to deport Shehadeh and Hamide.
ADC asks Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department to drop all further attempts to deport any of the LA 8, who have never been accused of anything other than First Amendment protected activities. Judge Einhorn has given the Justice Department lawyers until August 5, 2001 to tell him whether they plan to proceed with the deportations of Shehadeh and Hamide. At this point, the only way the INS can proceed is under elements of the McCarran-Walter Act which have been long ago voided as unconstitutional. ADC urges the Bush Administration to take this opportunity to drop all efforts to deport the LA 8.