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1/19/03

Green Party Denounces Mass Arrests of Immigrants

The Green Party of California - Media Advisory
January 6, 2003

CONTACTS:
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, and Immigrant Rights activist, 323-654-2058,
saraamir2001@yahoo.com
Ross Mirkirimi, GPCA Spokesperson, 415- 412-7526,
rmirk@msn.com
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-274-0360,
beth@greens.org

The Green Party of California is outraged over reports that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has detained hundreds of Iranian and Arabic men and boys who voluntarily reported to the INS to be fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated. When immigrants arrived for the first deadline of this "special registration program", they were arrested at local INS offices.

The program, a component of the Green-opposed PATRIOT Act, requires all males over age 16 from targeted Arab, Asian, and Middle East countries who are not permanent residents to register with US authorities. The second registration deadline is January 10 for men and boys from the additional 14 countries recently added to the list.

In Sacramento, a press conference and protest will be held in front of INS Office at 650 Capitol Mall on Tuesday, January 7 at 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. In SF, local activists are organizing observers to monitor the INS offices all week from January 6-10, with a press conference on Jan 10 at 11 am.

"Immigrant 'witch hunts' do nothing to reduce terrorism or ensure the safety of our country," said Sara Amir, immigrant rights' activist and former Green candidate for Lt. Governor. "Everyone should go to their local INS office and demand that they stop this roundup of immigrants. This administration is preparing for a war. They're creating fear among immigrants so that they won't speak out while their energy is spent on the INS issues."

Amir will appear January 10 with Los Angeles TV panel host Bill Rosendahl to discuss the INS abuses.

"This government offensive is another strike against our Constitutional rights and freedoms," said Stuart Bechman of the Ventura Green Party. "Under the cover of the 'War on Terror,' the Bush administration has been gutting our Bill of Rights through these abusive actions for over a year," Bechman said.

For many Greens, the Ashcroft "registration" program is reminiscent of the infamous events of the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and the U.S. roundup of Japanese citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"The Green Party of California denounces the Justice Department's war on immigrants," said Beth Moore Haines, Green Party spokesperson. "Our nation expects this administration to honor its oath of office to uphold and protect the Constitution and the rights of all people in our country. This is not a police state, and the Green Party strongly encourages all citizens to act to prevent one," Haines said.

More information:

"Calif. Muslims Detained in Crowded, Cold Centers"
Reuters, December 19, 2002
http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=1939069

Letter from the Alliance of Iranian Americans to INS Acting District Director in Los Angeles
http://www.payvand.com/news/02/dec/1096.html

Class action lawsuit filed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Alliance of Iranian Americans, Council on American Islamic-Relations, and National Council of Pakistani Americans
http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=1540

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Greater Sacramento
Area Chapter: 916-484-2860

The Green Party of California
http://www.cagreens.org
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437
gpca@greens.org


Greens Call the Mass Detention of Foreign-Born Muslims in California Illegal

Trapped by the INS during a routine registration, law-abiding Iranians and Arabs have been denied due process, face inhumane jail conditions and deportation; racial profiling recalls the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II; more arrests feared beginning January 10

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The mass detention of foreign-born Muslims in California deserves condemnation from every American who cares about human rights and equal treatment under the law," said Ben Manski, a Wisconsin Green and member of the Steering Committee of the Green Party of the United States.

Greens called on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to release the hundreds of detained Iranian and Arab men and boys immediately and demanded that Attorney General John Ashcroft end the Justice Department's "Special Registration" program, which Greens say will do nothing to deter future terrorist acts.

Several hundred -- possibly over a thousand -- foreign-born Muslims, mostly Iranian, are reportedly being held and face deportation; there are reports of inhumane conditions in detention centers in Southern California, including crowded and freezing cells, strip searches, shackles, and denial of access to lawyers.

"Those who showed up to register in California did so voluntarily and in willingness to comply with the law -- and many were immediately arrested," said Beth Moore Haines, Media Coordinator of the Green Party of California. "The fear of arrest will surely drive many foreign-born Muslims who are here legally into hiding. Would-be terrorists will also go underground, making it less likely that they'll be discovered."

The Department of Justice mandated the INS's Special Registration policy in the wake of September 11, and the INS has already been registering and fingerprinting visiting men who are at least 16 years old, mainly from the Middle East, at airports and other points of entrance to the U.S. The first deadline, December 16, required registration by more than 3,000 male visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. The next registration deadline is January 10, 2003, and applies to over 7,000 foreign-born males from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

"It's likely that we'll see more illegal roundups beginning on January 10," said Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Party of New York State. "The arrests are illegal because no arrest warrants have been served, and because the men deported or threatened with deportation have been here legally, were voluntarily complying with a call for registration, and many were already in the process of filing or updating green card applications and residency documents with the INS. They're being held without bail or bond and face deportation without due process. They have complied with the law at every point, and now they're being punished -- for being Iranian or Arab."

Many Greens plan to join public protests in California, New York, and elsewhere in the coming week, including a major lunch hour demonstration in front of the INS in Sacramento on Tuesday, January 7. Greens say the detentions betray a policy of racial profiling that undermines President Bush's public posture that Muslims should not be harassed and blamed for September 11.

"These detentions and the dubious rhetoric about homeland security used to justify them recall the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II," said Nancy Allen, a Maine Green and member of the national party's Media Committee. "Nearly 70 years ago, another nation used language like 'Special Registration' -- when all Jews were required to register in Nazi Germany."

"We face a real national security threat to the United States -- from the Ashcroft Justice Department," said Ben Manski. "Every American should be alarmed by the Bush Administration's increasing disregard for constitutional protections and procedures, contempt for basic rights and privacy, disinformation campaigns, and other policies in the name of 'Homeland Security' and 'Total Information Awareness.' How long will we tolerate these assaults on our democracy and the Constitution?"

MORE INFORMATION

The Green Party of the United States
www.gp.org
National office: 1314 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-296-7755, 866-41GREEN

Class action lawsuit filed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Alliance of Iranian Americans, Council on American Islamic-Relations, and National Council of Pakistani Americans
http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=1540

"Calif. Muslims Detained in Crowded, Cold Centers"
Reuters, December 19, 2002
http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=1939069

Letter from the Alliance of Iranian Americans to INS Acting District Director in Los Angeles
http://www.payvand.com/news/02/dec/1096.html

... Payvand News - 1/19/03 ... --



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