Committee For Justice

I (we) write to urge you to review and abandon the government’s efforts to deport a group of Palestinians in Los Angeles. Eighteen years ago, in 1987, the INS attempted to deport seven young Palestinians and a Kenyan woman, under anti-communist laws dating from the McCarthy era. At the time, William Webster, then head of the FBI, said that there was no evidence of any criminal activity by any of the group, and that if they were U.S. citizens there would be no basis for their arrest. Despite several subsequent judicial decisions declaring that the INS’s efforts violated the First Amendment, and that the individuals at stake had engaged only in constitutionally protected activity, the government, now through the Department of Homeland Security, is still seeking their deportation. Students when the case began, most of the individuals are now middle-aged with American children, families, jobs and businesses. Now they face charges that their activities in the 1980s in Los Angeles make them deportable under the Patriot Act, a law passed in 2001.