Special Registration: PR Failure

Here’s a news item from Reuters:

Hundreds of Iranian and other Middle East citizens were in southern California jails on Wednesday after coming forward to comply with a new rule to register with immigration authorities only to wind up handcuffed and behind bars.

Shocked and frustrated Islamic and immigrant groups estimate that more than 500 people have been arrested in Los Angeles, neighboring Orange County and San Diego in the past three days under a new nationwide anti-terrorism program. Some unconfirmed reports put the figure as high as 1,000.

The arrests sparked a demonstration by hundreds of Iranians outside a Los Angeles immigration office. The protesters carried banners saying “What’s next? Concentration camps?” and “What happened to liberty and justice?.”

A spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service said no numbers of people arrested would be made public. A Justice Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The head of the southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union compared the arrests to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War.

Now the rhetoric here is definitely over the top. There’s no way one can compare Japanese internment camps with the current arrests. Also, I have no reason to believe that the people arrested were not violating immigration laws. However, I find it strange that the INS refused to give out the number of people arrested. My guess would be that almost everyone detained would be in violation of immigration laws. So why not be forthright about it? The secretive habits of this administration are going to bite it hard. Also, this will be a big story in the Middle East. In the end, dear reader, do you think it will help the US effort against terrorism or hinder it? That is the question no one is asking.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer