Friday, February 29, 2008

ACLU Sues DHS and Others for "Deportation" of Pedro/Peter Guzman


The ACLU complaint on behalf of Peter Guzman filed on February 27, 2008 provides the first clear statement of the activities leading to what the ACLU calls Guzman's "illegal deportation," but might be better viewed as plain and simple criminal kidnapping. What else to call an organized effort to remove someone from the state without their consent? According to the complaint, Guzman was delusional part of the time in custody. Before this occurred and Guzman gave information on his birthplace, the Sheriff's Department correctly recorded this as California.

The complaint provides the first detailed narrative of the U.S. government's failure to obtain Guzman's consent before putting him on a bus on May 11, 2007, without his wallet or California driver's license, and dropping him off in Tijuana, where he knew no one.

Based on the details of this document I am further convinced that the ACLU is being too easy on the government. An "illegal deportation" is an oxymoron, as is the much more common violation of the "illegal arrest." Both of these weight the intentions of state actors in a manner law does not afford private individuals. The actions associated with the "illegal arrest" and even more so for an "illegal deportation" are indistinguishable from kidnapping, which really is the crime (and not just civil claim) that the government should be charging Chertoff et al. with committing. (For an explanation of why Guzman's forcible removal against his will from the USA meets the criteria of kidnapping, read this posting, based on the initial habeas complaint.)

If the state is acting against the law then the putative purpose claimed as the motive for that behavior, i.e., executing the law, is not relevant to defining the state's actions. If a law is not executed lawfully then these actions are not furthering the execution of the law and should be assessed on their own merits.

If I am trying to feed my family and steal food to accomplish that, I am not charged with "illegal caregiving," but theft. If I am unable to accomplish my benign purpose of assisting Mexicans excluded from the U.S. and I drive them into the USA, I am not charged with "illegal job support" but human trafficking.

In other words, state actors should be held accountable for the egregious actions that it commits against people in violation of all of the laws. When a failed execution of a law occurs, then the actions done on its behalf should receive no special protections because they were done by state actors. Indeed, if anything, the scrutiny and punishment of these illegal actions should be much more severe than that directed against private individuals, precisely because of the power these people wield.

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