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April 22, 2004

Dept of Homeland Security Loses Marbles

We're up to our armpits in radical Muslim jihadis. We refuse to use profiling at our airports. We put a quota of inspecting only two Muslims per flight. And now we up and deport the Amish guy as a security threat. If it wasn't so pathetic it would be funny.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A federal appeals court on Thursday refused a request to keep a Canadian Amish man in the United States while he challenges a law requiring his photo be taken for legal residence in the country.

Not just an Amish man, a Canadian Amish man married to an American Amish woman.

Zehr's attorney, Mark Knapp, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday. U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said the Department of Homeland Security might continue efforts to send Zehr back to Canada.

Fire them. Fire them all.

April 22, 2004 in Politics | Permalink


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As much as I hate to say this, too bad that he thinks it is his religious right not to be photographed, if that is so important take your bride to Canada and live there in peace. In no way do I support exceptions for Islamists to avoid photographs or their "right" to wear veils while driving or for drivers licenses ala Florida, sorry dude, this applies for Amish too.

Posted by: Craig at Apr 22, 2004 10:54:13 PM

But Craig, you could turn him loose in the oval office with a steak knife and all he would do is peel an apple. You'd think that since his face is now pretty well known by the Department of Homeland Security, that they could just sign off on him with a special waver. That or just take a digital image and scramble the bits, so that it's not, after all, an image.

But look at it this way. With all the Al-Qaeda cells out there, the DHS is wasting time in hearings over this Amish guy. Is that the way a criminal focused police force works, or is that just enforcing rules because someone wrote them down, without regard to the reason the rules were written? Are we running a Barney Fife operation or what?

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 22, 2004 11:56:33 PM

It's a constitutional issue- equal protection. If we don't apply the laws evenly, then it opens up all kinds of problems. If the Amish dude doesn't want to comply with the requirements to reside here, then he can go back to Canada. Particularly since it is a religious issue- we don't grant special rights based upon religious orientation.

Now, do I think that Homeland Security is doing an excellent job, and is being more effective? No- not really. But the way that they will be effective is to have proper procedure, not to have every cowboy making their own mind up about whether or not some individual is a threat. I know it's boring, and may sometimes result in ridiculous situations when the situation doesn't exactly match a pre-programmed action tree, but those occasions are when we need to recognize that something needs special attention. It doesn't mean that we abandon our policies (unless the policy itself is proven flawed), it just means that due process will require some sort of review.

Anyway, the Amish guy clearly doesn't have a leg to stand on- he can comply or leave. Just like the Muslim woman in Florida- if she doesn't want to expose her face for a driver's license, then she doesn't get to drive.

Posted by: Thbastidge at Apr 23, 2004 6:21:03 AM

Check this one out.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at Apr 23, 2004 9:11:12 AM

Is it a waste of time?


Is it still the law?


Does that matter?


Also, remember that not everyone in DOT or DOJ can be assigned to the Big Stuff. You can't have every cop in New York work on the same crime case, for example, no matter how big it is, because other lawbreaking is happening too.

Posted by: Dave at Apr 23, 2004 10:47:47 AM

Unfortunately, I have to agree with thbastidge - if we don't enforce the requirement against this guy, how do we argue to the Muslim woman in Florida that she has to have her picture taken without her veil?

Nope, EVERYBODY has to suck it up a little bit, these days. A couple of months back, my wife and I were flying on a business trip. We got to the airport a little late, I was feeling stressed, and in the security line, they were making everyone take off their shoes and belts. I started grousing about how stupid the whole thing was, and my wife elbowed me (a little harder than was REALLY necessary) and said, "Shut up, and do it! They're trying to protect US!" And she was ABSOLUTELY right. I shut up, apologized to the TSA person, took my shoes and belt off, and then thanked the TSA person when it was over.

If ANY of us thinks we are "above" the inconveniences required for security, how can we enforce the laws against anyone?

I don't have a problem with profiling (in fact, I wish they would), but that is not an answer - all the terrorists would have to do is find willing, non-Arabic accomplices. (Remember Rachel Corrie? Anyone think that there AREN'T "useful idiots" out there that would help the jihadis in this way? I'm sure not willing to bet the safety of MY family on such a chance!)

Hey, I'm a Catholic. The law of the land, that my taxes support, allows (and PAYS for) abortions that I think are completely unjustifiable and immoral. Do I like it? Hell, no. Does that justify my refusing to pay taxes (or even that portion that goes to funding abortions)? Hell no.

Posted by: Flagwaver at Apr 23, 2004 2:45:57 PM

But he says it's against his religious beliefs to take his photograph. So what? Take it anyway and let him know that us "English" are rude.

Getting shot is probably contrary to most people's religious beliefs, but we don't rule that the cops are therefore prohibited from shooting them if they raise religious objection as they knock over the liquor store.

Why didn't the DHS just snap his picture, as he's standing there right in front of them, and say "Sorry about your luck. Now get out of here."?

Posted by: George Turner at Apr 23, 2004 3:46:35 PM

"Why didn't the DHS just snap his picture, as he's standing there right in front of them, and say "Sorry about your luck. Now get out of here."

It's called due process. If there's a legal right for DHS to take his picture, then there's a legal right and they can force compliance. It's not too closely related to unlawful search and seizure, but it has to be considered somewhat related. He has rights, even as a non-citizen, but they're not exactly the same rights that a citizen has.

For example, he has no 'right' to be here. So far, his presence in America is a priviledge granted to him on the basis of his compliance with the law. If he indicates an unwillingness to comply with the law, then he foreits his priviledge of residing in the United States.

Posted by: Thebastidge at Apr 26, 2004 3:23:47 AM