Protecting Due Process


The chaos from the Muslim ban continues to tear at the fabric of our country. It's but one page in a playbook, but I'm quite content to focus on it because I believe victories gained here will pay forward to other battles against the accumulation of power.

In one week the executive branch has disrupted countless lives. I've been inundated with stories of separated families, mental anguish, and magnified uncertainty. I've witnessed the outright defiance of a Court order shrugged off as the mere words of "an outside judge." I've seen legislators turned away, unable to penetrate the faceless fortress this new administration has built. And I've witnessed an assault on due process of law, the enlightened principle that a right cannot be taken away without both sides being given a fair chance to defend.

When "due process!" becomes a rallying cry as we saw at Dulles Airport on Saturday, something is seriously wrong. Due process is something to be zealously guarded, and the time and resources spent guarding it is the best preventive medicine a society can buy.

This administration started with immigration its first week because it's the low hanging fruit. There's not much process due an alien, and they want to take it away.

Expanding expedited removal (no hearing.) Mass visa revocations (no right of appeal.) No access to counsel (even with a court order.) Arbitrary suspension of immigration benefits for those who otherwise did it legally (no way to challenge.) Bans effectively on a religion (insulated by the plenary power doctrine.) Immediate blacklisting of entire countries (no notice.) It's all easy within our immigration laws, which are hard to follow, but very easy to break.

And then perpetuating the story of the dangerous and untrustworthy immigrant, rallying popular support behind the ban by doing things like reporting alien crime (but only alien crime) *weekly* and calling it "transparency."

We need borders to be crossed in an organized manner. A country is defined not by its borders as Mr. Trump suggests, but by the people inside it. And those people need to move to keep goods, services, and ideas flowing.

Shutting the door, then, as if to a snake oil salesman, inherently means one does not value those other ideas, that one's native ideas are the only ones needed.

They're not. We need fresh ideas and the grit and determination that frequently comes with them.

Be vigilant in ensuring destructive ideas don't make it in. But be equally vigilant to make sure they don't grow inside the house, either.

And assaulting due process is a very, very destructive idea.

Hassan Ahmad spent the weekend at Washington-Dulles International Airport after the Muslim ban executive order was signed last Friday, volunteering with dozens of other lawyers to fight for the rights of affected foreign nationals.

About The Author

Hassan M. Ahmad, Esq. is the founder and principal of the HMA Law Firm. Licensed to practice in Maryland and Virginia, fluent or proficient in eight languages besides English, known and respected among his peers for his knowledge of the law, research and writing ability, trial skills, and having earned a reputation among his peers as the “go-to” attorney in matters of immigration law, Hassan is an aggressive, dynamic and knowledgeable lawyer who passionately believes in fighting for his clients. Hassan has 14 years of experience in immigration and criminal defense, and is especially familiar with the immigration consequences of criminal activity. He regularly counsels his own clients and defense attorneys on the immigration consequences of pleas and convictions for their non-citizen clients. He has lectured before Virginia defense attorneys on the topic, creating social media groups to better train defense lawyers. He is a regular invited speaker and writer on various topics related to immigration, and is frequently quoted in local and national media.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.