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Even though the metropolitan area in Detroit, Michigan, has a large population of Arabs and Muslims,60 the number of arrests there remained relatively low.
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Law enforcement officers arrested a few individuals, but they did not round up people like they did in New York and New Jersey. These were ineffective intelligence tactics. This means that individuals who slightly resembled the 19 hijackers—those whom officers perceived as being from the Middle East—were subject to surveillance, questioning, scrutiny, and detentions. And anyone from those countries whose immigration papers were out of order—anyone—was to be turned over to the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service].
Instead of using pertinent intelligence, evidence, or knowledge about Muslim communities living in the United States, law enforcement officers used racial profiling and depended on tips75 made by fearful and paranoid citizens. He said it had expired and that was why he was going to see his lawyer. The policeman took him to the police station and called the FBI. Sewilam was deported on March 15, Depending on the vulnerability of the suspected individuals and the attitudes of the individual law enforcement officers, some of these non-Muslims were also arrested.
Officers suspected that he might be a terrorist and imprisoned him on the ninth floor of the MDC in Brooklyn. Purna was deported to Nepal in January for an immigration violation after an FBI officer intervened. Singh, a year-old Sikh man with a turban and a beard. He was arrested on a train on September 12, , for carrying a Kirpan, a short blunt ceremonial sword that all Sikh men are mandated to carry by religious doctrine. Later he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Along with racial profiling, tips from the general public were another primary cause for investigation and detention.
This classification occurred without any evidence of or link to terrorism, especially in the New York area. So without any better leads, why not just question any such men you could, and hold those who it turned out were violating the terms of their visas? Had they taken jobs.
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Had they overstayed their visas? And the best way to do that was to round up, question, and hold as many people as possible. My research and interviews with former detainees and the larger Muslim community reveal the implications of this policy on the ground and the way immigration status played a pivotal role in sorting out suspects and detaining them.
If they were not citizens, I believe both of them could have been locked up.
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Of course, there were some special cases in which individuals were arrested even though they did not have any immigration violations. For example, Ansar Mahmood, a young Pakistani man arrested in upstate New York, had a valid green card. Another example is the arrest of eight men from Evansville, Indiana; six had valid green cards, one was a U. One of their housemates, a young man from Morocco with a valid green card, was not arrested.
One of these examples is Faisal Shahzad, the car bomber who tried to detonate a bomb in Times Square on May 1, The heavy concentration of undocumented immigrants in high-security jails suggests that the government deliberately targeted individuals who were vulnerable because they were visible—most of them worked in public spaces such as taxis, restaurants, and newspaper stands—and easy to detain.
Even among the detainees, the individuals subjected to the harshest treatment were the ones who were the most vulnerable, the ones least familiar with immigration laws, or the ones who did not have any family members to support them from outside the jail. And it was a mob scene when I got there. There were 40 or 50 prisoners shackled to each other, packed into courtrooms.
Relatives, lawyers, court personnel, guards were all just wandering around the halls and trying to get things organized. It was so chaotic. I said, oh, my God what a mess.
I have never seen such chaos in the immigration court. The judges did not want to erroneously free someone who might be a terrorist. All of [the detainees] were on [immigration charges]—anyone who would interview them. It was easy for the government to justify their detention because they were already in contravention of U. It was easy to do so because immigrants have been blamed for economic, social, and cultural chaos throughout the history of this country.
For example, the state initiated a volunteer interview program on November 9, , under which several Muslims were detained. Approximately nine months later, the government initiated the Special Registration program, which required that all males over the age of 16 from certain countries predominately Muslim countries who had entered the United States with temporary visas before specific dates had to report to the INS to be photographed, fingerprinted, and interrogated.
Many Muslim families fled and camped out along the Canadian border to escape the Special Registration requirement. The hostility against Muslims in the United States converted the home country into a safety zone.
The following graph shows a sudden increase in the number of deportations to Muslim countries resulting from the Special Registration requirement in Although these deportation statistics are not completely accurate and I believe that the deportations were higher than what were recorded as only 2, and 2, deportations are recorded for the years and , the graph still captures a sudden increase in the number of deportations for individuals from Muslim countries. Source: U.
Keeping detainees for periods of prolonged detention in these circumstances may amount to arbitrary detention in contravention of international law and standards. However, both of the reports imply that lack of resources and a failure in coordination and communication among various government agencies caused the detention of hundreds of Muslim men.
Brill asserts that Ashcroft knew from the threat matrixes he sees every day, and from all those wiretaps and other intercepts—and, indeed, from the reality of the September 11 attack itself, which was carried out by nineteen sleepers—that there are lots of elephants out there, and that none were able to pull off a new attack in the year after the first strike. They were potential killers who had to be stopped. Cole suggests that both citizens and noncitizens must challenge this expansion of power. Through secret detentions, Special Registration programs, and deportations, the state has produced scapegoats to displace blame and deny responsibility for failures in intelligence.
Former detainees have also contributed to this discourse by writing first-person narratives. Her scholarship reveals the severe impacts of state-sponsored terror on real people. In his account, he reveals the ignorance and cultural blindness of the U. One story after another reveals that racial profiling triggered suspicion against individuals and that specific questions about their religion led to their arrests. The narratives explain that when law enforcement agents were unable to find any terrorist connections, charges such as expired visas, credit card fraud, working on a nonauthorized social security card, lying to federal agents, and helping undocumented immigrants were tacked on to the cases as afterthoughts.
Recovering Evidence from SSD Drives in 2014: Understanding TRIM, Garbage Collection and Exclusions
The government had to charge these detainees with something to save face. The individuals who had been stuck in solitary confinement for months at a time decided to accept immigration and criminal charges in exchange for their freedom.
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Some individuals arrested a year or so after the September 11 attacks have been convicted of terrorism. These terrorist convictions are also controversial, and several legal and civil rights organizations have raised civil liberties concerns with them, including the excessive use of the material support statute, secrecy about the evidence, and entrapment through paid informants.
The state channeled the aggression created by the war on terror to these individuals and violated their rights. However, one of the interviewees Ansar Mahmood had a valid visa. In his cases, the state converted him into a criminal and added the charges of harboring illegal immigrants to detain and deport him.
This case is not an exception. During my research, I encountered similar examples when state officials closely scrutinized paperwork until they found something for which to detain and deport individuals who had no links to terrorism. The state combined its knowledge of rules and regulations with the power to enforce them to detain and deport individuals. In Prison Notebooks, Anthony Gramsci defines hegemony as a dominating power that the state develops and maintains through force and coercion. Another critical element of this domination is the consent of the subordinate classes. The purpose of hegemony is the promotion of dominant class interests through the conformity of the masses.
State policies and strategies deliberately targeted vulnerable Muslim males using the rhetoric of national security. The constant spectacle of Muslims parading in shackles in the local and national news heightened the climate of fear that enabled the abrogation of civil rights. As a result, the general public relinquished civil and legal rights to stop additional terrorist attacks. The following oral histories illustrate that many FBI and immigration agents, prison guards, prosecutors, deportation officers, and judges perceived most Muslim-looking men as terrorists.
Through these arrests, law enforcement officials wanted to prevent additional terrorist attacks. Every national television news channel and newspaper published stories of ongoing arrests in connection with terrorism without proper fact-checking. Within days, every Muslim-looking male became a potential terrorist. At airports, racial profiling for Muslims became acceptable.
The six personal narratives reveal the mechanisms used to maintain the continuity and reciprocity of the hegemonic discourse of the Muslim terrorist. Arrests, detentions, and deportations helped create a consensus that every Muslim-looking male is suspicious. Oral History Methodology Between October and April , I completed over 40 in-person interviews with individuals arrested and deported after September 11, All but two were male. These interviews were conducted with individuals detained in jails, individuals released after detentions within the United States, and individuals deported to Pakistan, Egypt, and India.
Another 20 interviews were conducted both in the United States and abroad with friends and family members of detainees. Their efforts built name recognition among former detainees and enabled the organizations to gain their trust. He also wrote a letter on ICNA letterhead that introduced me to former detainees, explained my project, and encouraged them to talk to me.
Without these community connections, I would not have been successful in my research. Most of these individuals also worked in nonprofessional jobs. During my interviews, former detainees pointed out time and again that they did not consider their undocumented status a crime because they observed that the United States was swarming with undocumented immigrants. They also noted that employers liked hiring undocumented immigrants for their hard work and willingness to work for lower wages.
For them, getting arrested was like getting pulled over for driving five to ten miles above the speed limit on a highway where all the drivers are doing so. It was the arbitrary and discriminatory nature of the application of laws that agitated former detainees. Why only us? Why only Muslims? These individuals were kicked out of the country for minor immigration or criminal charges. They saw themselves, therefore, as victims of racial profiling and saw me as a vehicle for carrying their voices back to the country from which they had been deported.
They wanted to make sure they told me the truth so that my scholarship could be trusted and their voices could be heard.