PATRIOT Overreaches: Who Knew?

|

The Department of Homeland Security is still using anti-terror laws to refuse and deport refugees:

In central Florida, Lam Kim, 47, is fighting deportation. Kim fled Burma after soldiers ransacked her parents' house and found letters from the Chin National Front thanking her for a donation. The organization, which the Bush administration has labeled a terrorist group, is fighting against the Burmese military junta.

Kim, who uses a pseudonym, said she gave the money to help the group feed people in her ethnic group. She was jailed for two years after arriving in the United States in 2004, and her asylum request was rejected by an immigration judge. "If I go back to Burma," she said softly over the telephone, "I have to give my life. I am not terrorist. I say it not fair." 

The PATRIOT Act mandates denial of asylum to individuals who give "material support" to any group the State Department deems terrorist. Kim is incarcerated and facing deportation (and likely execution upon her arrival in Yangon) because she gave some money to a group resisting…Myanmar's military dictatorship. The Post quotes a cohort of flabbergasted pro-PATRIOT conservatives:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative public policy group, said the anti-terrorism thrust of laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the Real ID Act is supported by most conservatives, "but the enforcement of it has lapsed into ludicrousy. The concept of material support is being distorted, and even the definition of the term 'terrorism' is being turned on its ear." 

Someone needs to explain why giving money to the Chin National Front shouldn't count as material support. What's more material than a cash donation? The Department of Homeland Security isn't distorting a law by broadly defining its terms; it's just following a ridiculously broad law. But that interpretation of events implicates more than a few confused bureaucrats.  

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

18 responses to “PATRIOT Overreaches: Who Knew?

  1. Burma is the living proof that everything people say in support of the Iraq war is total bullshit.

  2. I agree with Gary Bauer on something: who knew?

  3. and even the definition of the term ‘terrorism’ is being turned on its ear.”

    I really hope it hasn’t taken until now for *anyone* to figure this out.

  4. I guess I missed the memo on how Burma is a terrorist threat to the U.S.

    But I love the new noun “ludicrousy.” It’s so much succincter than ridiculosity.

  5. yea but succinter is not all that succinct.

  6. A let’s-overthrow-the-government group that sends thank you letters to donors? And a donor who keeps the letters? Do the Darwin Awards folks have a “Politics” category?

  7. “A let’s-overthrow-the-government group that sends thank you letters to donors? And a donor who keeps the letters? Do the Darwin Awards folks have a “Politics” category?”

    Exactly what I was thinking. It’s just nature weeding out the stupid.

  8. Crusader Rabbit:
    No, you missed the memo on how Iraq was not a terrorist threat to the US.

  9. If Gary Bauer made a donation to the _Chin_ National Front, do you think they’d lend him one?

  10. Gosh, whodathunk that the “definition” of “terrorist” would get so broad?

    Assholes.

  11. I wonder how that would have worked out, invading Burma instead of Iraq, and installing a democracy there………couldn’t possibly be worse could it?

  12. Fuck that munchkin

  13. Lowdog,

    Gosh, whodathunk that the “definition” of “terrorist” would get so broad?

    Stop calling the poor gal names, she is about to be deported.

  14. 1. “The homeland security police can do whatever they think they need to.”

    2. They do.

    3. “We didn’t think they’d do that.

  15. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/74761.htm

    The article is outdated; or maybe this poor woman is hosed because her case came up early.

  16. lovecat: Of course it would be worse – there’s no oil there. Oh, wait, you mean in terms of lives needlessly thrown away…

  17. Btw, I found that by googling Kim National Front and clicking a link on the first page.

    Maybe do a wee bit of research? Just saying.

  18. new noun “ludicrousy.”

    a) Is that a form of government?

    b) Is there any other form of government?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.