Where an individual’s liberty is at stake

The essence of any community is determining who is in it and what are its governing values and process. Our governing values are our constitution, which includes a suspicion of governmental power, and provides rights to “persons” in the country. These rights are guaranteed by a process by which the government can arrest us. In the Fourth Amendment, we gave ourselves the right not to be arrested without probable cause that we have committed a crime, and a warrant being issued by a judge. The police, on their own, do not get to arrest us and hold us. We get taken before a judge within 24 hours or 48 hours over a weekend. We can explain things to the judge in a public courtroom.

But we have different rules for illegal aliens. They are deemed outside of our community and not entitled to the rights we give ourselves such as the process of the Fourth Amendment. As I have repeatedly warned, however, when we ratchet up the effort to deport illegal aliens, undoubtedly, we ensnare US citizens in the mix. And by streamlining the process of deportation, that is, eliminating due process rights for this accused, we reduce the likelihood that an innocent person can prove his innocence.

For those arrested by ICE, in practice, the accused must prove his innocence, and he can sit in jail for many days or even months before ever seeing a judge. Think “the Man in the Iron Mask” or “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Now a new investigative report by the LA Times shows that this problem is much more serious than I ever imagined. Over a thousand US citizens have been rounded up and held in recent years. Many of those US citizens are children of illegal immigrants, and others are people who were born in other countries. Neither group should be treated as second-class citizens. Our constitution knows no such categories.

This problem became severe under President Obama in 2012, when deportation numbers skyrocketed, and it has continued to this day.

ICE theoretically grants a legal review for those claiming to be citizens within 48 hours, But in practice, the Times found, that time period is ignored. To protect people from unlawful acts by the Government is neither liberal nor conservative, it is American.

If you demand that the Government “do something”, be careful. It might.

Read the L.A. Times article, “ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship”, by Paige St. John and Joel Rubin, dated Sept. 17, 2018.

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