OUTSIDERS LOOKING IN: THE AMERICAN LEGAL DISCOURSE OF EXCLUSION

Author: 

Luis E. Chiesa

Shortly after the birth of our nation, Congress enacted the Alien Friends Act, which granted to President John Adams the power to detain and deport aliens from any country deemed “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” without affording them due process of law. After the riots and criminal attacks on prominent public figures that took place subsequent to the end of World War I, the government ordered various raids directed at deporting aliens who sympathized with anarchist or communist ideals. In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps with the alleged purpose of guaranteeing national security. As part of a sweeping government effort to quell terrorism after 9/11, President Bush signed an executive order allowing special military tribunals to try foreigners suspected of committing such acts. As a result, the military facilities at Guantánamo Bay are being primarily used as prisons for the indefinite detention of non-citizens designated by President Bush as enemy combatants. View More