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Friday, May 2, 2008

torturers need not apply

According to news reports yesterday, Nelson Mandela and other members of the African National Congress appear on U.S. terrorist watch lists. What makes the situation even more ridiculous is that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice apparently has no idea of how to get them off the list:
'"This is a country with which we now have excellent relations, South Africa, but it's frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela," Rice said.'

With the executive branch mired in such incompetence, Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) has proposed legislation, currently in the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees, to remove them from the list. The bill is H.R. 5690, 'To exempt the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization for certain acts or events, provide relief for certain members of the African National Congress regarding admissibility, and for other purposes.'

My original intention in starting this blog entry was to revisit Dick Cheney's pro-apartheid votes in the U.S. House in 1986. He did indeed vote against a resolution calling for Mandela's release and against economic sanctions, but I was unable to corroborate a recollection I had from the 80's about something he may have said about Mandela in particular.

Instead, I found something more interesting in the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182), the law which Berman's bill would amend. Here it is:

'§ 1182. Inadmissible aliens
(a) Classes of aliens ineligible for visas or admission. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, aliens who are inadmissible under the following paragraphs are ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States:[...]

(3) Security and related grounds.[...]

(E) Participants in Nazi persecution, genocide, or the commission of any act of torture or extrajudicial killing.[...]

(iii) Commission of acts of torture or extrajudicial killings. Any alien who, outside the United States, has committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the commission of—
(I) any act of torture, as defined in section 2340 of title 18, United States Code; or
(II) under color of law of any foreign nation, any extrajudicial killing, as defined in section 3(a) of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (28 U.S.C. 1350 note), is inadmissible.'

How about that? Aliens who have committed, ordered, or even incited torture are not allowed to enter the U.S. I guess certain privileges are reserved for citizens.

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Blogger Luke West said...

Great post. Your readers should cf. "The Audacity of Government," a recent "This American Life" podcast, for more info regarding visas and the American government. If you haven't yet listened to it, Hussein, you should check it out too--there is an interview with a laywer in the Third Act you will find intriguing. It can be streamed at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Archive.aspx.

5:04 PM, May 02, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

There's plenty to be said about visas in this decade, particularly for university people. It's funny how often U.S. policy clashes with the needs of American capitalism. Visas are a case in point. How does it help American industrial competitiveness to drive away engineering and science students from abroad? Do we want science and engineering students from, say, China and India to find alternative academic opportunities in Europe, or do we want them to come here for their studies and hopefully stay? It's amazing how often the homeland security state conflicts with the needs of American business. Who knew that fear was a stronger impulse than greed?

Going further off-point, doesn't it also hurt American corporations, vis-à-vis their global competitors, to force them to oversee their employees' health insurance? Socialized medicine would actually be good for American capitalism.

1:50 AM, May 03, 2008

Anonymous steve said...

How does it help American industrial competitiveness to drive away engineering and science students from abroad?

Arguably it does help, because eventually American industry will be able to outsource its engineering work to those same students who had to stay in China and India etc, where labour costs will still be lower. If the students are allowed to come to the US and stay, they eventually command higher salaries, and there will be an inexorably dwindling pool of skilled-but-dirt-cheap labour abroad.

6:09 AM, May 03, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

But, Steve, from that perspective, wouldn't it make more sense to exacerbate the brain drain from India and China? Also, if Asian engineers settle in Europe rather than the States, that hardly makes them cheap labour.

3:16 AM, May 08, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Wish this could circulate more widely.

10:44 AM, May 08, 2008


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