If you’ve read about Daniel Ramirez-Medina, the DACA recipient still detained by ICE, you’ve seen how ICE has called him a known gang member, or KGM. (Even more troubling are allegations by his lawyers that ICE tampered with his statement to try to “prove” that he was a KGM. This wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened: an ICE attorney pled guilty in 2016 to forging a document meant to deny a Mexican immigrant the chance to apply for a green card.)

This is a way the government denies due process for Latinos: by calling them gang members and not giving them any way to challenge the designation. I had a client who reported gang activity – a knife attack – and testified against them, and then got picked up and denied bond because they called him a known gang member.

Muslims get called supporters of terrorism under a similar scheme. The whole Muslim Brotherhood issue? Same thought process: find a way to label a community as suspect and then take away their right to challenge it or defend themselves. The anti-immigrant, Islamophobic elements of Fear, Inc. currently advising the White House have been trying for years to label the MB as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) under INA 219(a). They’ve failed thus far – because there is no evidence, and in fact the evidence points to the conclusion that the MB is a firewall against terrorism rather than a conduit to it. However,  this is inconvenient for Fear, Inc.as it would rob them of their ability to affiliate notable Muslim organizations with terrorism. If they could do so, it would allow these organizations to be shut down, their leaders arrested, and have a chilling effect on all charitable donation to Muslim causes. 

It would also prevent a wide swath of Muslims from gaining immigration benefits such as green cards and citizenship. We’ve already seen how the CARRP program accomplishes this (a secret immigration partnership with the FBI designed to delay or deny immigration benefits for largely Muslim applicants.) This program unilaterally labels Muslim applicants as either “known or suspected terrorist” – KST – or “non-known or suspected terrorist” – non-KST. Put them together, and it’s…everybody.

The only thing standing in the way of Fear, Inc. is the due process guaranteed by the Constitution. That timeless principle that no right shall be taken away unilaterally without some process, a chance to defend. 

When due process is taken away or limited, the result is disenfranchisement. Whether it’s done by KGM or KST, the thought process is the same. And it happens to other communities too. Due process is something we must zealously guard and fight for. Because it affects us all.

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