Guantanamo Chinese coming to a town near you

Updating yesterday’s post on the Uighurs, the Washington Post reports:

A federal judge today ordered that 17 Chinese Muslims held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison be released into the United States by Friday, agreeing with the detainees’ attorneys that the Constitution bars holding the men indefinitely without cause.

It was the first time that a U.S. court has ordered the release of a Guantanamo detainee, and the first time that a foreign national held there has been ordered brought to the United States.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued the landmark ruling in the case of a small band of captives, known as Uighurs, who have been held at Guantanamo for nearly seven years and are no longer considered enemy combatants by the U.S. government.

At a hearing packed with Uighurs who live in the Washington area, Urbina rejected government arguments that he had no authority to order the men’s release. He said he had such authority because the men were being held indefinitely and it was the only remedy available. He cited a June decision by an appellate court that found evidence against the Uighurs to be unreliable.

The Justice Department lawyer asked for a week’s stay but the judge refused. The Uighurs have to be in his courtroom on Friday and he will release them into the custody of Uighur families in the Washington area. The government will appeal.

Now here’s an alternate telling from a source I consider more reliable and sensible, Andy McCarthy at National Review’s Corner:

Judge Ricardo Urbina rejected the government’s arguments that he was without authority to order the release.  He reasoned, despite the fact that the Uighurs are non-Americans held outside the United States, that they are vested by the United States Constitution with a right against indefinite detention.  The government has been trying to find a country that (a) will take them and (b) will not persecute them.  Where in the Constitution it says these aliens have a right to enter the United States and live among our population is not clear.

Note that under the 2005 REAL ID Act, the immigration law grounds for excluding aliens from the United States were expanded to include, among other grounds, the following:  If the alien (a) “is a representative of (1) a designated or non-designated terrorist organization; or (2) any political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity”; or (b) “has received military-type training, from or on behalf of any organization that, at the time the training was received, was a terrorist organization.

McCarthy links to an article he wrote right after the Supreme Court’s Boumedienne decision, the one that granted the Guantanamo war prisoners the right to appeal their detentions in federal court. He said in that article:

These guys weren’t out of China on Hajj. They were getting combat training from Islamic militants in Afghanistan. Moreover, many…have been involved in serious incidents at Gitmo, including numerous assaults on U.S. military personnel and participation in riots incited by jihadists.

But, he adds, don’t worry. Judge Urbina thinks they’re suitable neighbors for you.

Update: The White House says:

We are deeply concerned by, and strongly disagree with, today’s decision by a federal district court ordering the release into the United States — by this Friday morning — of 17 Uighurs currently held at Guantanamo Bay.

This decision, we believe, is contrary to our laws, including federal immigration statutes passed by Congress.  The Department of Justice intends to seek emergency relief tonight to stay the court’s order and to request a prompt reversal of the order by the Court of Appeals.  The district court’s ruling, if allowed to stand, could be used as precedent for other detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, including sworn enemies of the United States suspected of planning the attacks of 9/11, who may also seek release into our country.

Consistent with the safety of our citizens and the safety of the Uighurs themselves, the United States will continue working to find a country to which these men could be transferred.


Why don’t we just invite all the Iraqi refugees to move here?

No matter how many Iraqi refugees we admit, we’ll always be told we need to take more. The IPS news agency reports:

Despite a marked increase in the number of Iraqi refugees admitted into the United States, experts on Iraq and human rights and refugee organisations are calling on Washington to open the door wider amid fears that returning home remains dangerous for many displaced Iraqis.

The U.S. government has met its target of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees for the 2008 fiscal year, which ended on Sep. 30, and promises to admit more than 17,000 for the next year, in addition to 5,000 under a special visa programme.

Okay, how many should we take?

 Approximately 1.5 million Iraqi refuges live in Syria, Jordan and other neighbouring countries. Ninety thousand of them are seeking resettlement in the U.S., according to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Groups that advocate on behalf of refugees have praised the increased numbers of Iraqi refugees being resettled in the U.S. But considering the vast number that are seeking resettlement, the groups say the U.S. is still not doing enough.

The reason 90,000 are said to be seeking resettlement here is that this is all that have been processed, I would guess. If we opened the doors to 90,000, how many of the remainder would want to come here? Almost all of them, I’ll bet. The article continues:

Many refugee and rights groups have noted a special responsibility for caring for displaced persons because the U.S. led the war that gave rise to the crisis.

This type of article never mentions our special responsibility for seeing that displaced persons return home safely, as the government of Iraq claims it would like them to do, and as many of them would probably like to do if they could be assured of their safety. 

Now here’s something that needs further explanation.  The target for next year is 17,000. But:

“I think you’ll see the U.S. government admitting, over the course of fiscal 2009, tens of thousands of Iraqis into the United States,” said Ambassador James Foley, who was appointed by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the post of Special Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues in 2007.

That’s just thrown into the article without further comment. Tens of thousands? How will this come about? Will Ambassador Foley personally take them in and resettle them? Will he personally change our quota? Now, about refugees going home:

In an interview with IPS, Phebe Marr, an Iraq expert and the author of “The Modern History of Iraq”, discussed the pros and cons that Iraqi families face when returning. “It’s much safer — there is no doubt about that. It’s calmed down and security seems much better,” said Marr.

But she also cautioned that these families could encounter difficulties when returning to Iraq. Some families find their homes have been occupied by others, and there are few job opportunities, she said.

I’ve written again and again about the housing problem. This seems to be the biggest barrier to returning. Obviously a lot of new houses have to be built. When is the Iraqi government going to get busy, or if it is too incompetent, when are we going to set up a program to get it done?

As for jobs, the economy is recovering and growing rapidly. Iraqis are pretty entrepreneurial and most of the refugees have skills, so many of them will create their own jobs or find something in the growing economy. And they will probably be better jobs than ones they could get here; we’ve seen how doctors and professors are reduced to working as hotel cleaners in the United States. Of course the statist mentality of the resettlement people and government agency employees doesn’t allow them to look at the economy like that. They think someone has to go in and build a big factory to employ people before they will be able to earn a living.

Now, about the Iraqi government’s responsibility:

The IRC statement also called for pressure on the Iraqi government and others to adequately address the refugee crisis and set a global standard for granting sanctuary to more Iraqi refugees — especially when they are imperilled and have exhausted other options.

The State Department was also critical of the Iraqi government for not doing enough for its refugees.

“The Iraqi government’s unwillingness thus far to significantly share the international burden of assisting refugees would become more understandable if it were undertaking a serious and credible effort to prepare for large-scale returns,” Foley said at the September press briefing.

In a recent statement, Refugees International alleged that the government of Iraq, despite a massive budget from increasing oil revenues, has been “ignoring the welfare of four million displaced Iraqis” by refusing to grant the requested funding to an Iraqi parliamentary committee on displacement and migration — the third such rejected request this year.

Iraq’s budget will be nearly 80 billion dollars, of which the committee has requested 4 billion dollars.

“There is no excuse for the government of Iraq’s poor response to the displacement of Iraqis,” said Younes [of Refugees International] in the statement. “…[T]he government has the resources to help people who have been uprooted from their homes.”

I wish I knew more about why the Iraqi government doesn’t do more for the refugees. Is it incompetence, or is there a sectarian reason, or is it something else? We’ve been hearing the same thing for a long time — they have the money but they won’t spend it. I’m glad to see the State Department and the refugee agencies are taking up the issue. I’ve never heard of refugees being an item in our negotiations with the Iraqi government, but it should be.

CAIR: Gotta get those Latinos calmed down

Update on CAIR from the FBI here.

That title is the key point I took away from this update on the religious accommodation conflict that began in Greeley, CO several weeks ago.   If you are new to RRW, go to our category entitled Greeley/Swift/Somali controversy here.   This story from the Denver Post, thanks to Whuptdue, begins with a discussion about how Jews and Muslims both want more workplace accommodation of religious practices. 

In response to the firings [by Swift in Greeley], both national Islamic and Jewish groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League, have urged respect for religious practices in the increasingly diverse workplace.

“This is a core issue for us. Everybody in our society should have the same freedom to worship or not worship as they choose without interference from the government or an employer,” said Bruce DeBoskey, director of ADL’s Mountain States Region.

“Yet we see people losing jobs. We see people have to use vacation to celebrate their high holy days. We see people docked pay,” DeBoskey said. “Most employers follow the law, but violations are still common occurrences.”

I don’t know what the big deal is, why is it a problem for a worker to use a vacation day to celebrate an important religious event?   Are we going to have every business in America close for every obscure holiday?  Hey, here’s a thought, wonder how Muslim workers would feel if things were closed down on that important Wiccan religious day called Halloween?

Another solution that seems so obvious to me is to give each worker maybe 2 or 3 days a year to choose which religious days they want to celebrate.  But, I guess that would be too simple.

As I said in a previous post, I believe everything has quieted down in Greeley and Grand Island, NE because CAIR is now working its magic behind the scenes.  They know that it simply won’t do to have the minorities, the grievance groups, all at each others throats.  If you are new to the issue, Hispanics, Sudanese and Vietnamese all walked out to protest Somali demands at the Swift plants.

For Muslims, the most difficult issue is typified by what happened at the Greeley slaughterhouse — a dispute over what is adequate accommodation of prayer in factory or assembly-line work.

“That’s our toughest nut to crack in terms of religious accommodation,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

It’s a year-round issue that tends to peak during Ramadan, Hooper said, when Muslims are perhaps more mindful of their devotional duties.

During the lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast from break of dawn to sunset, then to perform sunset prayers — one of five prayer times required of Muslims every day.

Most work schedules mean Muslim employees will need to pray two to three times a day in the workplace.

Negotiations between Swift and the workers broke down when the evening break that Swift offered did not coincide with sundown. Non-Muslim workers, many of them Mexican, complained about their added workload when Muslims were given special breaks, said Ahmed Mohamud, one of the fired workers.

“We are trying to learn how Latinos and Somalis can work peacefully together, respecting each other,” Mohamud said.

CAIR knows you gotta shut up those Latinos and get them back on the right side (CAIR’s side)!   Afterall, the enemy is white Christian America, right Mr. Hooper?