August 4, 2006


Advocates Say U.S. Bars Many Academics: Government Says It Rarely Uses Law Regarding Those Who 'Espoused Terrorism' (Anushka Asthana, August 4, 2006, Washington Post)

When Waskar Ari traveled to Bolivia last year, after completing a doctorate at Georgetown University, he meant to stay there for 10 days. The historian was due back last fall to start a professorship at the University of Nebraska. A year later, he is still waiting to return.

Ari, an Aymara Indian, is one of a growing number of foreign scholars whose visas have been revoked or whose applications have been denied -- barred, according to civil rights and academic groups, for their ideological or political views. While the federal government denies this is happening, free-speech advocates and Ari's attorney say the practice is reaching near-epidemic proportions.

"We have a serious problem," said Robert Kreiser of the American Association of University Professors, who has written to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the issue and says the problem is growing. "This places a serious chill on the exercise of academic freedom."

The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking up to 15 cases, including Ari's, in which it thinks people have been banned for their beliefs. While ideology is rarely given as the official reason, the ACLU said academics increasingly are being interrogated about their political beliefs when they apply for visas.

"The government is using ideological exclusion laws as a way of manipulating the political and economic debate," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy director of the ACLU's national security program. "They are using the laws to deny Americans the right to hear views."

Ideology/religion is the only basis upon which immigrants should be barred.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2006 10:01 AM

Up to 15 cases = epidemic? Epidemics ain't what they used to be.

Posted by: jeff at August 4, 2006 10:33 AM

So how did the Yale Talibani get in the country?

Posted by: Rick T. at August 4, 2006 11:04 AM

Ah, we've come up with a reason to keep people now have we? Other people's reasons are all racism, nativism and ignorance, but OJ's reasons are good solid Americanism.

BTW, only an intellectual cares about other peoples "ideology/religion."

Posted by: Brandon at August 4, 2006 11:45 AM

Don't know anything about Waskar Ari but the exclusion of a Sandinista leader and Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Swiss terrorist supporter, seems pretty smart.

Posted by: Bob at August 4, 2006 11:57 AM


No, not now, always.

Race doesn't determine your ability to profess the ideals of the Declaration. Ideology does. Communists, nativists, etc. don't believe in its words and are, therefore, literally unAmerican.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2006 1:39 PM

OJ: how about felony records and contagious diseases?

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 4, 2006 4:55 PM

Neither seems pertinent, unless the disease is sexually transmitted.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2006 5:01 PM

So you're all for immigration of violent gangsters, armed robbers, sexual predators, and people with active cases of TB?

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 4, 2006 6:45 PM

Sure, they get the TB because of poverty--they'll get over it here. Criminals don't move from disordered states to ordered ones.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2006 6:51 PM

You have not heard of drug-resistant TB and Mara Salvatrucha?

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 5, 2006 12:29 AM

Ah, it's all about hygiene....

Posted by: oj at August 5, 2006 8:23 AM

Oh, brother. Now we're outsourcing anti-Americanism cos there's not enough American-born America haters to lecture at university?

Posted by: Sandy P at August 6, 2006 1:03 AM