Monday, January 08, 2007

Never Attribute to Malice...

...What can be explained by stupidity.

Thus, we see our tax dollars put to such efficient and humane use.

Ah, the glories of bureacracy!


Conservatives who supported President Bush's reelection have joined liberal groups in expressing outrage over his administration's broad use of anti-terrorism laws to reject asylum for thousands of people seeking refuge from religious, ethnic and political persecution.

The critics say the administration's interpretation of provisions mandating denial of asylum to individuals who give "material support" to terrorist groups is so broad that foreigners who fought alongside U.S. forces in wars such as Vietnam can be denied asylum on the grounds that they provided aid to terrorists.

Advocates for refugees add that people who were forced to aid terrorist fighters at gunpoint could be labeled as supporters and turned away; such cases include a nurse who was abducted and told to treat a guerrilla fighter in Colombia and a woman in Liberia who said her father was killed and she was raped and forced to stand by as rebels occupied her home for several days.

"This is so indefensible," said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute and a former lawyer in the Reagan administration. "It is causing heroes who fought for the United States to be afraid of being deported."

"It's outrageous," said Barrett Duke, vice president of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I think it's essentially a reaction of fear to the current terrorist danger." The language in the laws, he added, is "a knee-jerk reaction."

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, a conservative public policy group, said the anti-terrorism thrust of laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the Real ID Act is supported by most conservatives, "but the enforcement of it has lapsed into ludicrousy. The concept of material support is being distorted, and even the definition of the term 'terrorism' is being turned on its ear."

The number of individuals granted asylum since 2001 has fallen steadily, from 39,641 then to 25,257 last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The number of refugee arrivals has fluctuated since 2001, from a high of 68,925 that year to 28,304 in 2003 to 53,738 last year. But it has not risen as high as the 72,000 who were allowed into the country the year before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

When bureaucracies won't trust their people, the higher-ups create ridiculous rules that are meant to be "people-proof." Meet the results.

A little common sense, please? Thank you!

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