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In the Matter of Hamide and Shehadeh

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Synopsis

These two deportation cases involve two Palestinian activists, Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh, whom the government have attempted to deport since 1987. They argue that Hamide and Shehadeh’s lawful First Amendment activities, including distributing newspapers, participating in demonstrations, and organizing humanitarian aid fund raisers for Palestinians in the Middle East, warrants their permanent banishment from this country. 

Description

Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh are two Palestinian activists. Both born in the West Bank, they came to the United States in their college years and have now lived here for more than three decades. They are lawful permanent residents and hard-working fathers—Hamide, the father of three children all born in the U.S., supplies luxury coffee shops; Shehadeh, the father of two U.S. citizen children and married to a U.S. citizen, works as a freelance writer and lives in Oregon.

Both have been in deportation proceedings for 20 years, and their case has reached every level of federal court, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  The government has been seeking to deport Hamide and Shehadeh since January 1987 based on their alleged support for the Popular Liberation Front for Palestine (“PFLP”), a group within the Palestinian Liberation Organization. 

In 1987, Hamide, Shehadeh, and six others were arrested by immigration authorities on charges that they were affiliated with the PFLP.  The government claimed that they were deportable for being affiliated with a group that “advocated the doctrines of world communism,” which was a deportable offense under the McCarthy-era McCarran-Walter Act. Significantly, FBI Director William Webster testified before Congress that the eight “had not been found to have engaged themselves in terrorist activity.” After the McCarran-Walter Act was declared unconstitutional, the government continued to pursue deportation under other charges, including charges of providing material support to so-called terrorists.

On January 30, 2007, Los Angeles Immigration Judge Bruce J. Einhorn ordered an end to the 20-year-long deportation proceedings against Hamide and Shehadeh. In his decision, Einhorn said that the proceedings must be terminated because of the government’s refusal to disclose evidence favorable to Hamide and Shehadeh in compliance with his orders. 

David Cole, of Georgetown Law School and CCR who has been, along with Marc Van Der Hout, co-lead counsel for the LA8, stated, “For twenty years the government has been attempting to deport these individuals for political activities that would clearly be protected if they were U.S. citizens. We hope that the government will now move on and focus its efforts on real terrorists and not political activists.”