Tuesday, January 13, 2004

US Citizenship : Born Here - Citizen Here

Begging The Question has a thought-provoking posting - as also How Appealing - on Oforji v. Ashcroft, a case involving a Nigerian woman who was denied asylum even though her two girls, ages 6 and 4, are U.S. citizens due to the fact that they were born in the United States.

Since the LawPundit is himself a naturalized citizen, currently living in Germany, where the "born-here citizen-here" legal framework does not apply, we appreciate very much the extremely important nature of this citizenship issue for this and future generations.

With 6 billion people on this planet and growing, any person's citizenship will increasingly be either a valuable asset or a liability, depending on the nation of that citizenship. Accordingly, the laws here must conform to the modern age.

We suspect that the "born-here citizen-here" principle is probably out of date for our era and should be seriously reviewed. Certainly the judicial result reached in the Oforji case offends any normal human's sense of justice. Either we want immigrants and new blood in America or not - the people of US should be free to decide this - but mothers and children should not be potentially separated in this manner. It is simply "un-American".

Executive Secrecy, Immigration Detainees and the FOIA

An article by Anne Gearan of the Associated Press at azstarnet.com reports that the US Supreme Court, in the case of Center for National Security Studies v. Justice Department [03-472], has denied without comment a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Center for National Security Studies, et al, v. U.S. Department of Justice, 331 F.3d 918, 927 (D.C. Cir. 2003), which upheld Executive Secrecy with regard to "immigration detainees" detained by the Executive after 9/11. The denial of the writ allows the Court of Appeals decision to stand.

See the DOJ brief here.

This holding by the US Supreme Court adheres to a line of decision-making which we have predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court will take in the detainee cases, intelligently avoiding any direct confrontation with the executive powers of the President under the Constitution.

Simply as a legal matter, it was easier for the Supreme Court to reject this case, since no habeas corpus was involved as an issue - contrary to other upcoming cases, but rather involved the question of the application of Section 7(A) of the Freedom of Information Act which authorizes the withholding of:

"records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information . . . could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."

As stated in the DOJ Reference Guide:

Ctr. for Nat'l Sec. Studies v. United States Dep't of Justice, 331 F.3d 918 (D.C. Cir. 2003), petition for cert. filed, 72 U.S.L.W. 3248 (U.S. Sept. 29, 2003) (No. 03-472) -- 2-1 decision upholding nondisclosure of the identities and other information pertaining to all immigration detainees taken into custody in the government's post-9/11 terrorist investigation, including the identities of their attorneys; extending the courts' "long-recognized deference to the executive on national security issues" to Exemption 7(A) "in appropriate cases, such as this one"; concluding that disclosure "would give terrorist organizations a composite picture of the government investigation" and thus enable them to impede it through witness intimidation, evidence tampering, evasion, and the formulation of "counter-efforts."

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