Conservatives who supported President Bush’s reelection have joined liberal groups in expressing outrage over his administration’s broad use of anti-terrorism laws to reject asylum for thousands of people seeking refuge from religious, ethnic and political persecution.
The critics say the administration’s interpretation of provisions mandating denial of asylum to individuals who give “material support” to terrorist groups is so broad that foreigners who fought alongside U.S. forces in wars such as Vietnam can be denied asylum on the grounds that they provided aid to terrorists.
[…] “It’s outrageous,” said Barrett Duke, vice president of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “I think it’s essentially a reaction of fear to the current terrorist danger.” The language in the laws, he added, is “a knee-jerk reaction.”
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.”
Read the whole story to get a sense of the awful way that countless vulnerable individuals have been handled by our security beaurocracy. If there is any upshot, I guess that Gary Bauer now understands why some of us have always been skeptical of this government, even when they propose things which are not prima facie idiotic. It hurts that much more when the Michael Browns screw up something you like.
Naturally it gets worse. At least most refugees get a hearing; applicants from Iraq have virtually no chance because our government apparently prefers to pretend that the crisis doesn’t exist.