POLITICO reports that as of Thursday, December 27, the gun lobby's petition to the White House to deport CNN's*Piers Morgan, a British citizen who is in the US legally and has committed no deportable offense and broken no law, for speaking out for gun control, has received approximately 80,000 signatures. The media, so far, have tried to make light of the petition, because, obviously, there is no chance of deportation taking place as long as Morgan keeps his job with CNN (unless he is already a US permanent resident, in which case he cannot be deported at all unless he violates some law in the future).
But this issue is not about Piers Morgan, who is protected by the 1st and 5th Amendments to freedom of speech and due process of law, respectively, even though he is not a US citizen. The issue is about America. The fact that even 80,000 people are still so addicted to gun violence in America, particularly after Newtown, that they could engage in the lunacy of signing a petition which goes against every notion of liberty and the rule of law, and seeks to deny these basic freedoms to a foreign citizen who is in the US legally and is merely exercising his Constitutional right to free speech, is deeply troubling.
The White House, under its own policy, is supposed to reply to this petition, since it has garnered more than 25,000 signatures. The White House should do so, with a strong statement that America is a country where the rule of law is supreme for both US and foreign citizens, not the rule of guns.
There is only one problem with this. How much attention is the White House paying now to the rule of law, due process, and basic human rights for immigrants in its mad rush to deport 400,000 people per year, something which shows no letup? Which is doing more damage to America and its values as a freedom - loving nation of immigrants, an only partly serious petition by a hand full of pro-gun crazies to deport a TV commentator, or Secure Communities and President Obama's immigration detention gulag?
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.