The United States is mired in a bitter conflict in Iraq while facing an increasingly hostile world. It is unclear if the U.S. government has ever been less popular, even among traditional allies.
Yet America does have friends abroad. People who still view the U.S. as a beacon of liberty and opportunity. People who so love this nation that they want to live here and become citizens.
But they can’t. Because they fought with America against America’s enemies.
Strange? Yes, but nevertheless true. There are thousands, indeed tens of thousands, of people around the globe, victims of horrid oppression who have fought for their own liberation, sometimes alongside U.S. forces, who today are considered to be terrorists or supporters of terrorists, and thus cannot settle in America.
Welcome to Washington, D.C., and the Kafkaesque world of the PATRIOT and Real ID Acts, as interpreted by the federal bureaucracy.
IT HAS LONG BEEN EVIDENT that Uncle Sam lives in a bubble, largely isolated from reality. Nonsensical decisions are not just common; they are to be expected. Three years ago, for instance, the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected an asylum claim by a Chinese Christian who had been arrested, beaten, tortured, and humiliated. The reason: he violated the Chinese government’s “legitimate” restrictions on religious activity. Under pressure the Bush administration vacated the decision. Just another day in Washington.
The events of September 11 made evident to all the importance of monitoring those who enter America. Congress enacted in haste a bill drafted in haste by the Bush administration. Refugee status was to be denied to anyone who provided “material support” for “terrorists.” Alas, people in Washington write and interpret the law very differently than would normal people.
First, terrorist groups include anyone who opposes a legally recognized government. That is, under current U.S. law any French or Spanish citizens who aided the American Revolution would be barred from coming to America. None of them are still alive, of course, which thankfully spares us yet another embarrassment.
But many Hmong and Montagnards are still alive, and they now cannot settle in the U.S. because they fought with America against the Communist governments of Laos and Vietnam. Similarly situated are Cubans who have opposed the Castro regime, under sanction by the U.S. government for nearly five decades; Afghans who fought the Taliban, defenestrated with U.S. support; and Iraqis who resisted the very government which America ousted militarily. Indeed, Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute points out that the law bars entry to any Jew who was living in the Warsaw Ghetto and who fought the Nazis while U.S. forces were battling the Wehrmacht.
Under a similar interdict are members of the ethnic groups Chin, Karen, and Karenni, which have spent the last half century battling against Burma’s central government. The U.S. currently imposes sanctions against the odious military regime in Rangoon, but anyone who takes up arms, or helps those who take up arms, against the junta is considered to be an anti-American terrorist.
Second, “material support” includes incidental aid to individuals as well as help provided under duress. It doesn’t matter if you exhibit a moment of minor kindness to a soldier passing by or have been kidnapped and forced to work: if you “assist” terrorists, you become a terrorist equivalent yourself.p>It’s estimated that 10,000 people were denied entry last year because of these provisions. The following are just a few people rejected as refugees (or previously accepted as refugees but now denied green cards for work) because they were found to provide material aid to terrorists: br> /p> blockquote>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?