I had a chance of going back to my country of origin a couple of months ago. I usually visit family and meet with clients and catch up on time lost, after not seeing my family for a very long time. Two days before leaving, all of Beirut was on edge; a decision was expected in the case of a Sunni cleric, who was opposed to Hezbollah, and was for all intensive purposes doomed. His doom came from the fact that the head of the military tribunal was known as a member of the “Party of God”. His trial lacked any due process; in fact, at some point the court dismissed his counsel and appointed someone else sua sponte.
Mr. President, that is what an unfair system looks like. I am an immigration practitioner. I am the first person to tell you that our system is imperfect, especially in the immigration context; however, our system is the envy of the world. I have represented some dangerous people; yes people who had done bad things. But the beauty of our system is that it treats the person who killed someone with the same protections as someone who stole an iPad from the Apple store. Protecting rights, and yes even for terrorists, is what makes our judicial system worthy of being called the American system of justice. Calling our system of justice names, does not make it the laughingstock of the world; it does not make it useless, as you called it today.
Lawful permanent residents, according to scores of United States Supreme Court decisions, deserve the highest levels of protection in due process. The Court has said that these individuals, including myself, have assimilated into our system and have shown the intention of living permanently in the Land of Dreams, America. Yes, what makes us great is the fact we accord this man, even though you seemingly disposed of his humanity so easily, the protections of our laws. Lady justice, is blind, and will always be, and the rights of even terrorists are weighed in her scale without any discrimination.
One note of caution to you Mr. President: I think it is in your best interest for our justice system to remain fair. Many individuals who worked for you have recently been arrested. Imagine if law enforcement lifted all of their protections, tortured them, and that led to them implicating you? I would think that you, and your lawyers, would vehemently attack the evidence presented against them. I hope that your comments today are not a predicate to attack the justice system trying them for their crimes.
Now, I hope that our imperfect system would put everyone involved in this attack into our system, and in the end get the punishment they deserve.