One law at a time leads to fascism

 

On March 3, Perla Morales-Luna was walking near her home in National City, CA, a suburb of San Diego, with her three young daughters when Border Patrol agents suddenly rolled up in a van. The agents roughly pulled Morales-Luna away from her daughters and hustled her into the van. A video of the event circulated on the Internet has caused outrage.

Benjamin Prado, coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee’s San Diego U.S.-Mexico Border Program, denounced the arrest, calling it “a grotesque way of detaining and enforcing immigration law. It is very quickly accelerating to a very tyrannical form of detention and arrest, snatching people up off the street.”

The assault on the human rights of immigrants—which is really an assault on everyone’s rights—escalated to a new stage in February. On February 27, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings (Jennings v. Rodriguez).

“Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country,” the court ruled.

One dissenting voice on the court is sounding the alarm about the attack on our constitutional rights, Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

“We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence,” Breyer said, “in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty.’”

Breyer added, “No one can claim, nor since the time of slavery has anyone to my knowledge successfully claimed, that persons held within the United States are totally without constitutional protection.”

The unalienable right to liberty translates to the right to a bond. With no right to bond out of custody, immigrants appealing detentions, legal permanent residents whom the government wants to deport because they allegedly committed crimes, and asylum seekers who are awaiting a court date after turning themselves in at the border could be indefinitely detained.

We should remember the famous poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power. The poem begins, “First they came for the Communists/And I did not speak out/Because I was not a Communist…” Then Niemoller lists the other groups the Nazis came for – the socialists, the trade unionists, the Jews—and he concludes: “Then they came for me/And there was no one left/To speak out for me.”

This is the danger behind this decision. It first attacks immigrants and refugee seekers. But if no one raises their voice against it, when they get around to denying bond to citizens, will there be someone there to defend us?

 

No democracy in Texas

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2 thoughts on “One law at a time leads to fascism

  1. The other thing is; like most presedents, there are laws that make other laws possible. During Obama’s administration, Obama ordered a drone killing in Yemen of American born Muslim preacher, Al Awaki because Al Awaki had been “forced” by the FBI to flee to Yemen because the FBI was going to reveal his adultery with a prostitute to his Muslim followers. Al Awaki started a website espousing Jihad which Obama claimed led to the Muslim American soldier killing/injuring other American soldiers while in training. I’m not saying that’s right. What I am saying, the drone killing of Al Awaki and of his 16 year old American born son through drone order also formed groundwork for National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA which states, signed into law that any American citizen who plans a violent action against this country can be arrested and held indefinitely in jail without a trial. That was signed sometime after 2011.

  2. Forgot to mention, the National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA mirrors a law that I have to abide by as a naturalized citizen because when I apply for a renewal of my USA passport, the question is asked if I have tried to violently overthrow the USA government. The punishment is loss of USA citizenship, deportation.

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