[Congressional Record: January 24, 2002 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
THE DETENTION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS IS ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE
HON. DOUG BEREUTER
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 24, 2002
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to commend to his
colleagues the January 3, 2002, editorial from the Norfolk Daily News
entitled ``Rights of aliens more limited.''
As the editorial correctly notes, people who have overstayed their
visas or illegally entered the United States are in direct violation of
U.S. immigration laws, and therefore their detention is well within the
bounds of U.S. law. Whether the United States is fighting a war on
terrorism or is at peace, this is the case.
[From the Daily News, Jan. 3, 2002]
Rights of Aliens More Limited
Investigators within bounds to detain those with doubtful status
The war against terrorism has unearthed some not-so-
innocent immigrants. They are not yet accused of being part
of Osama bin Laden's network, or proven to have been involved
in terrorist activities. Rather, they have overstayed their
visas or entered the country illegally. Now some of their
American friends join civil rights activists in believing
these individuals are being mistreated by longer-than-usual
Some 1,100 men (no women) in this category, having been
detained as possible material witnesses. But so far, only one
has been charged with a terror-related crime.
In the view of some critics of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
that one in 1,100 ratio proves overzealous federal
authorities are acting improperly.
Overlooked is the fact that the individuals being held for
further questioning violated the terms of their entry into
the United States. Those who maintain that immigration
charges are being used because it is not now possible to
charge the detainees with more serious crimes may be
accurate. But the point they fail to acknowledge is that
breaking the immigration laws should have consequences
whether one is a terrorist or simply a more benign violator.
Failure to meet conditions of entry is a crime. That Uncle
Sam has been slow to enforce immigration laws and forgiving
of the sins of illegal aliens in the past is no excuse for
Using immigration law violations to hold those who might be
considered suspects, and fit a profile similar to those known
to be guilty of terrorism, is a sensible way to conduct
investigations. Fortunately, it is also legal.
America may be moved by this war on terrorism to get better
control of its borders. Entry into the United States by
foreigners is nothing guaranteed in the Constitution.
Immigrants and visitors are to be welcomed, but the terms
have been dictated by Congress and should be enforced. One of
those terms must be to cooperate with law enforcement
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