Good news for PFLP!
Washington, D.C. | October 31, 2007 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is happy to learn that after a 20-year legal battle, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has completely terminated the “L.A. 8” case.
This comes following the Government’s most recent court defeat this past January when Judge Einhorn of the Los Angeles Immigration Court terminated the proceedings against the two men, finding that the Government was in violation of the men’s constitutional, statutory, and regulatory rights. As the court stated in its eleven-page opinion, “The Court finds that the Government has failed to carry its burden of proving respondents deportable based on clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence. Therefore, the proceedings against Hamide and Shehadeh are TERMINATED [sic].”
The BIA dismissed the case at the request of the Government, which agreed in a settlement to drop all charges and not to seek removal of either of the men in the future based on any of the political activities or associations at issue in this case. Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh have agreed not to apply for citizenship for three years, and to have several judicial orders in the case vacated as moot. To read the immigration court’s most recent opinion in its entirety, click here: http://www.adc.org/PDF/LA8.pdf
Over the past 20-years, ADC has been advocating for the dismissal of the government’s longest running deportation case. In January 2007, following the Government’s most recent defeat in court when Judge Einhorn issued the decision, ADC called on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drop the case.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff this past February, ADC requested that DHS no longer pursue this 20-year attempt that has repeatedly proved a failure when challenged in court. That same month, ADC also met with DHS officials in Washington on two occasions to advocate against continuing with this case. Previously, ADC President Hon. Mary Rose Oakar worked with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) who also sent letters advocating against continuation of the case. And for years before that, ADC had been engaged on the case, repeatedly asking for the case to be dismissed. To see ADC’s February 2007 letter to Secretary Chertoff see: http://www.adc.org/uploads/media/LA_8_Chertoff_Letter_2007.pdf
ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “After 20-years of trials and tribulations, Michel Shehadeh, Khader Hamide, and their families can finally live their lives without fear of deportation.” Shora continued, “ADC is delighted of the Government’s decision to drop this case and calls upon government officials to take note of this 20-year example of shame on the part of government prosecutors to unfairly target a group of individuals based on political ideology. This is not what our country should stand for and we know, as this case has demonstrated, that our system will not allow for such persecution.”
Hamide and Shehadeh are two of the eight people arrested in January 1987, by immigration officials on charges of being affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). At the time, the government charged that any association with the PFLP was grounds for deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act, legislation written during the McCarthy era that allowed deportation for association with any organization that “advocated the doctrines of world Communism.” Specifically, the government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had given talks and handed out magazines in support of the creation of a Palestinian state. In 1989, a Federal Judge declared the charges under the McCarran-Walter Act unconstitutional; the Government chose to pursue deportation by other means, some of which were retroactive applications of new laws, which throughout the years were successfully challenged in many different courts.
Then the Government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had provided material support to a terrorist organization. The substance of these charges was that the two men had made donations in the 1980s as students to social services centers (such as hospitals and day care centers) associated with the PFLP. After bringing the constitutionality of the charges to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1999, the Court ruled that the cases could indeed be tried under these charges. The Government would later bring similar charges against the two men under provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, for the material support of a terrorist organization. All these attempts proved a failure in court.
Marc Van Der Hout, National Lawyers Guild, and David Cole, Georgetown University Law Professor and volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, have represented the immigrants since the case began in 1987.