28 August 2006

Americans Exiled Abroad

The United States government does have all sorts of immense powers. Excluding United States citizens from re-entering the United States is not one of them. Nobody told the Bush Administration that apparently.

Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan. . . . McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney for California's eastern district, confirmed Friday that the men were on the no-fly list and were being kept out of the country until they agreed to talk to federal authorities. "They've been given the opportunity to meet with the FBI over there and answer a few questions, and they've declined to do that," Scott said. . . .

"They want to come home and have an absolute right to come home," said Mass [an ACLU attorney], who has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and a petition with the Transportation Security Administration.

"They can't be compelled to waive their constitutional rights under threat of banishment," Mass said. "The government is conditioning the return to their home on cooperation with law enforcement."

Aviation watch lists were created in 1990 to keep terrorists off planes and track drug smugglers and other fugitives. But since al Qaeda's attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government has expanded the lists significantly. Members of the public cannot find out if, or why, they are on a no-fly list.
Notable is the fact that these individual, who are U.S. citizens, are not only on a "no fly" list, but have been told that they will not be permitted to return to the United States, even if they come, for example, on a boat or private jet or via Mexico or Canada.

Hat Tip to They Get Letters.

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