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Another Good-Bye Booby Trap from Bush, Courtesy of Mukasey

New America Media, Blog, Rene P. Ciria-Cruz Posted: Jan 14, 2009

Before he fainted while giving a speech in Washington, DC last November, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey was heckled by a state Supreme Court judge who was in the audience. The disgruntled magistrate yelled, Tyrant! Youre a tyrant! Aptly put.

Mukaseys most recent acta farewell gesture, if you willproves he deserves the label. In the past the attorney general defended Bushs counter-terrorism policy, saying it respected the rule of law. He declared once before that the administrations much-criticized enhanced interrogation techniques did not constitute torture of detained terrorism suspects. Now, hes onto another target.

To the consternation of immigration lawyers and civil liberties advocates, Mukasey ruled last week that aliens have no constitutional right to challenge the outcome of their deportation hearings because their lawyers made mistakes while defending them (See SF Daily Journal 1/12. In one fell swoop, he abolished a 15-year-old precedent that was based on the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Now, the nation's 53 immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals, must deny aliens appeals. The ACLU charged that Mukasey has abruptly eliminated a longstanding constitutional right. Other immigration lawyers called his siren song shocking and appalling. Tyrant! I dont care if he faints again.

Mukasey provides the anvil while the so-called war against terror is the hammer in the heightened assault on aliens. The New York Times reports that because of the drastic increase in the prosecution of immigration crimes, prosecution of other crimes have suffered. Federal judges, prosecutors and lawyers have complained of siphoned resources and eroded morale.

Using data from Syracuse, NY-based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), the Times report says prosecution of immigration crimes doubled, with almost 70,000 cases in 2008. By contrast, prosecutions of white collar, weapons, drugs and organized crime have declined by nearly 20 percent.

With Mukasey the Tyrant providing a larger anvil, immigrants and aliens will be easier pickings indeed. Unless the incoming Obama administration does something fast to defuse all the midnight and farewell booby traps from the Bush Era.

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