Since September 11, the U.S. Congress has given prosecutors sweeping new powers to fight terrorism, and new regulations have allowed the Attorney General to detain indefinitely a suspected terrorist who is not a citizen-even if an INS judge finds there is no reason to hold him. Since then, a national manhunt has turned up scores of people believed to be linked to terrorist organizations, including many permanent residents and illegal aliens. INS courts have held their hearings in secret.
This crackdown raises troubling questions, some legal and some merely ethical, about the length of the detentions, the level of access detainees have to counsel, the secrecy surrounding the cases, and the racial profiling of immigrants as potential terrorists.
A panel of legal experts, human rights advocates, and others will provide their perspectives and relate tales of official indifference and occasional abuse. Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Middle-Eastern and Asian Language and Culture at Columbia University, will moderate this timely discussion.