Wednesday, August 11, 2004

It's no secret that our immigration system has problems figuring out the status of people. As Slacktivist reports on one particular bit of nonsense:

Before 9/11, for example, most Americans probably didn't worry too much about Finnish theologians infiltrating America's nondenominational seminaries and infecting our unsuspecting, red-blooded American theology students with their Scandinavian theories of pneumatology.

We were such innocents then.

Fortunately, your Department of Homeland Security is on the case. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, a systematic theology professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., has been deported to his native Finland.

The issue seems to be whether Fuller, with no ties to any particular denomination, is really a seminary. But it could be worse -- there are people who spend more than a year waiting in detention for rulings no more sensible than this.

So, it seems Dubya's crew has carefully pondered the problem of the long backlogs faced by people in immigration detention waiting for a hearing, and the bad conditions many of them face. And they have found the answer: eliminate the hearings:

Citing concerns about terrorists crossing the nation's borders, the Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday that it planned to give border patrol agents sweeping new powers to deport illegal aliens from the frontiers with Mexico and Canada without providing them the opportunity to make their case before an immigration judge. ...

Domestic security officials described the deportation process in immigration courts - which hear asylum claims and other appeals to remain in the country - as sluggish and cumbersome, saying illegal immigrants often wait for more than a year before being deported while straining the capacity of detention centers and draining critical resources. Under the new system, immigrants will typically be deported within eight days of their apprehension, officials said.

Indeed, why go to all that trouble of having hearings to determine a person's status when a border guard -- a properly trained border guard, to be sure, as anyone questioning the new policy is assured -- can simply look at them and tell whether they ought to be in the country or not?

A brilliant policy. What could possibly go wrong?


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