Saturday, December 22, 2007

The St. Tammany Six To Be Freed

After almost seven months of illegal detention and incarceration, in clear violation of US law, six undocumented migrants are finally being freed. Here's part of the report filed by Times-Picayune reporter Benjamin Alexander-Bloch:

After sitting in jail since spring as material witnesses to a friend's fatal shooting, three illegal immigrants were told Friday that their testimony wasn't needed and that they soon will be turned over to federal authorities for deportation.

Three others testified about the Slidell-area killing at a court hearing Friday, and the court will decide next week whether to release them to the feds.

The six men, all illegal immigrants from Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador, have been imprisoned for eight months, for the most part without representation, possible bond or knowledge of why they were being held, and with no means of communication.

On Friday, state Judge William J. Burris allowed the witnesses' testimony to be videotaped so that they could return home as soon as possible.

"The law does not include the constitutional right to hold people for a long period of time in jail without trial," Burris said.

"They did not even commit a (state) crime," he later added. "They have been arrested, but they have not been convicted of anything."

The hearing was the first time the six witnesses had stepped in court since their detention on April 29. They were imprisoned for six months without an attorney. They do not speak English, and they recently told their attorney and consulate officials that they had no understanding of why they were being held in St. Tammany Parish jail.

Many of the witnesses thought they were being held as suspects in the shooting, said officials who have since talked with them.

All they want to do is go home, to be deported, said Warren Montgomery, the attorney assigned to them last month.
Emphasis mine. So, what do they want? To be deported! I wonder how anti-illegal immigrant blowhards -- you know, the Deport. Them. Now. crowd -- think of that: folks from another country who have done nothing wrong other than to cross an imaginary line in the earth are forcefully prevented from being deported by the authorities? What a topsy-turvy world we live in. The lesson: Deport these lawbreakers now! Unless we can use them! In that case, it's o.k. for us to be lawbreakers ourselves! Quite an example we set, no?

In any case, I'm glad these folks will finally be freed and granted their wish of being deported. Lou Dobbs should be celebrating! Merry Christmas!

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