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March 2005

English For Int'l Communication

Kansans Fight for Family Literacy

9-11 Continues Wreaking Havoc

The Ultimate Communicative Activity

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Radical Right Strikes Again
Chain Reaction from 9-11 Threatens Immigrants

When those jets hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, they exploded on impact, starting a chain reaction hot enough to melt the tempered steel structure of the towers, which collapsed to the ground.

But that is not the only chain reaction those pinpoint attacks caused on that fateful day. Those missiles of hatred also managed to agitate hundreds of thousands of religious extremists and hatemongers within American society, who rose to action with a renewed sense of purpose.

I am not referring to the "sleeper cells" of Al Qaeda, but rather the small but vigilant segment of our society who preach intolerance, elitism, and bigotry.

It is beyond imaginable to think that Al Qaeda could have predicted the way in which these warped individuals would behave, much as if they were radioactive electrons whose energy levels were excited enough to hit a threshold, scattering them throughout the nation, burning new wounds and tearing fresh holes in the social fabric of the world's oldest experiment in freedom and democracy.

If we had had good, decent leadership in the White House in the aftermath of September 11th, much of the collateral damage to our nation could have been prevented. Instead, appeals to emotion and religious fervor were consciously and foolishly utilized by the Bush administration in their temporarily successful efforts to reinvent themselves as saviors and generals in a concocted "War on Terror."

It has been hard to keep up with all the ways in which the Bush administration has trampled on the U.S. Constitution and more than two centuries of American liberty. Fifteen hundred unnecessary deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq speak more eloquently than any words could do. $300 billion wasted on a war effort that has made future generations of Americans less safe is merely further insult added to the injury our country has suffered at the hands of our own internal ultra-conservative, religious right "jihad."

Now come new depths for those who thought the cynicism of Washington, D.C., could not go any lower. There is an anti-immigrant poison pill called the REAL ID Act hidden within a supplemental appropriations bill ostensibly intended to provide tsunami relief and funding for U.S. troops in Iraq.

No hearings are being held on REAL ID in the Senate, because it is contained in a supplemental bill instead of being debated on its own merits. The Senate is preparing to pass the supplemental right after Easter, and the President is certain to sign it into law.

REAL ID would impose new bureaucracy on states to handle a two-tiered driver's license system for foreigners and U.S. citizens; would make it much tougher for real refugees to be granted asylum in America; would impose an incredibly broad definition of "terrorism" to bar people from entering the U.S. or to deport immigrants, even if their activity is lawful and protected by the First Amendment; and would suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus for the first time since the Civil War, limiting all judicial review of detention and removal orders, including the elimination of temporary stays of removal pending federal court review in all immigration cases.

The House of Representatives has already passed the REAL ID Act (H.R. 418) and there will be no conference committee if the Senate passes the supplemental spending bill containing REAL ID, since the text of that section is identical to that in H.R. 418. The Senate is the more deliberative of the two Congressional bodies, and that is really the only hope that remains of stopping this particular mistake and, in the process, slowing down the ultra-conservative jihad that is destroying the United States from within.


Thank you to Linda Kenepaske for forwarding important information about about the dangers in the REAL ID measures. Also, thank you to the American Immigration Lawyers Association for sounding the alarm.

Article by Robb Scott

2005 ESL MiniConference Online