Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drop the 20-year old “L.A. 8” case following yet another defeat on the part of the Government in court. This comes as a result of a ruling made public on January 30, by Judge Einhorn, of the Los Angeles Immigration Court, executing an order to terminate the deportation proceedings against Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh. ADC is requesting that the DOJ and DHS no longer pursue this 20-year attempt that has repeatedly proven a failure when challenged in court.
Hamide and Shehadeh are two of a total of eight people arrested in January 1987, by immigration officials on charges of being affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). At the time, the government charged that any association with the PFLP was grounds for deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act, legislation written during the McCarthy era that allowed deportation for association with any organization that “advocated the doctrines of world Communism.” Specifically, the government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had given talks and handed out magazines in support of the creation of a Palestinian state. In 1989, a Federal Judge declared the charges under the McCarran-Walter Act unconstitutional; the Government chose to pursue deportation by other means, some which were retroactive applications of new laws, which throughout the years were successfully challenged in many different courts.
So, then the Government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had provided material support to a terrorist organization. The substance of these charges was that the two men had made donations in the 1980s as students to social services centers (such as hospitals and day care centers) associated with the PFLP. After bringing the constitutionality of the charges to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1999, the Court ruled that the cases could indeed be tried under these charges. The Government would later bring similar charges against the two men under provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, for the material support of a terrorist organization.
Now Judge Einhorn has terminated the proceedings against the two men, finding that the Government was in violation of the men’s constitutional, statutory, and regulatory rights. As the court stated in its eleven-page opinion: “The Court finds that the Government has failed to carry its burden of proving respondents deportable based on clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence. Therefore, the proceedings against Hamide and Shehadeh are TERMINATED [sic].” ADC is requesting that the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Homeland Security no longer pursue this 20-year attempt that has repeatedly proven a failure when challenged in court.
To read the court’s opinion in its entirety, click here.