Citizen of the World?


Interesting NPR story on an upcoming Supreme Court case that would consider the fate of immigrants stuck in an interesting legal limbo: Their resident alien status has been revoked following some crime, but their country of origin (in the case they look at, Cuba) won't accept them. The government apparently maintains that it can hold such people indefinitely.


NEXT: Just a Little Off the Top

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  1. Off-World!

  2. What would be a good solution?

  3. “What would be a good solution?”

    How about we don’t revoke their resident status?

  4. Isn’t Canada all about letting refugees in? Can’t we call ’em refugees and send them to the Great White North? I think it works for everybody. The immigrants get to live in the nearest approximation of America known, with free healthcare to boot. The Canadians can feel like they’re more compassionate than America. And America doesn’t have to face up to any tough decisions on civil liberties.

  5. How about we don’t revoke their resident status?

    They are criminals who have violated the terms of their residency. Why wouldn’t we revoke their resident status? Do we really want to reward criminal behavior this way?

    That’s what I was getting at. Indefinitely extending their resident status BECAUSE they are criminals who their home countries won’t take back doesn’t seem like a good answer. Locking them up indefinitely doesn’t seem like a good answer either.

    I honestly don’t know what to do with them.

  6. Off-World!

    Moon colonies! They’d be sure to set up an anarchist/libertarian society that would be oppressed by the UN, but their spontaneously sentient accounting computer would lead them in an uprising that would Free Luna forever. That’d be a great book.

    Seriously, though, at some point, if you can’t send them back, and they’ve done their time, you have to let ’em out. We don’t really want to have life-without-parole for check-kiting.

  7. “They’d be sure to set up an anarchist/libertarian society that would be oppressed by the UN, but their spontaneously sentient accounting computer would lead them in an uprising that would Free Luna forever.”

    Or maybe an anarchist commune that produces the most brilliant physicist to ever live, who discovers a theory of time travel, and gets invited to the home planet to discuss its applications only to become confused and disillusioned by its materialistic society.

  8. Jebus, folks! Fly them down to Cuba and shove them out with a parachute. If you dislike that, ship them to Guantanamo and then walk them out the gate. Keep them? Let them stay? Freaking sniveling …

  9. We’re the namby-pamby do-gooders of the world, so our job is simple. If their country won’t take them back, waive the revocation of their resident status, try them as residents, convict them as residents, let them emerge from prison/probation/whatever as residents, and let them get on with their lives…as residents. The problems seems to be with the dead-end definition of U.S. residency, not with related criminal activity or origin-country inaccessibility.

  10. The movie with tom hanks sucked, so I don’t care.

  11. Andrew-
    That’s the scenario. The guy they mention in the NPR story has served some number of years for robbery already.

  12. It’s no fun being an illegal alien..

  13. Hey! Why not hold an auction? If the detainee gives her/his permission, let states, countries (or authorized contractors thereof) submit bids to take in the person! Depending on the offenses committed by the detainee, you would have two main types of outcomes: one would be auctions with bids on how much money the bidder would want the US government to pay in order to take on the continuing imprisonment of the person, with the win going to the low bidder. In other instances, like nonviolent offenders or instances like marijuana use where the offense isn’t a crime somewhere else, you might even see bidders offering to pay to take on the person, seeing the value in having a productive citizen.

    In order to prevent this from becoming a government revenue-producing scheme or a means to sell people into slavery or some kind of Soylent Green production scheme, the decision to put oneself up for auction — and a veto power over types of outcomes — could be left to the detainee, and maybe the proceeds of auctions in which the winner pays could go either to the detainee or to a charity of her/his choice. And the winning country would have to agree to grant the detainee citizenship, even if they’re still going to imprison the person.

    That’s a market solution, right?

    Sarcasm aside, there was a time in my reckless youth when I thought this would have been a really good idea. One part of it still might be: allowing detainees in limbo, at their own discretion, to leave for a country willing to take them in. There’s lots of potential for abuse and it would open a big door through which the US could exile people for political reasons, but there’s a kernel of something there.

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