Department of Homeland Security – USA PATRIOT Act

The New York Times ran an incredible story today about Mr. Hiu Lui Ng, who died in custody.  It seems Mr. Ng was a far cry from the stereotypical illegal alien you read about.  Yet, he didn’t have his documents in order, got swept up in the system, and ended up dead.

Something is very wrong with a system that is so drunk on its own power that this kind of thing not only can happen, but does happen all too frequently.  Mr. Ng was an integrated member of society married to an American citizen.  Just imagine all those anonymous detainees who have no one to speak up for them.

The USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.”  (As soon as I stop laughing I can continue.)  One of its provisions is this:

[it] enhances the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts

I’m not sure if Mr. Ng’s arrest was justified literally by this provision, but I’ll but the spirit of it played a part. Law enforcement people have always had a difficult time resisting power abuse, but now it’s much worse.  What ever happened to America, the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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10 Comments on “Department of Homeland Security – USA PATRIOT Act”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    I keep hearing about these repulsive acts and I don’t know what to do. I can imagine some fat bureaucratic nurse or prison guard lording over these people telling them they’re faking their illness making criminals out of law abiding citizens whose only crime was not filing the right paperwork. This stuff is straight out of Kafka. Has the U.S. gone the way of early 20th century European “guilty until proven innocent?”. It’s so disgusting, I’m ashamed of the U.S.

  2. JAS Says:

    The way that illegal immigrants are detained is just wrong, if they have a history of criminality than by all means a prison like place is perfect. But this man was an upstanding human being, married to an american with 2 children. The ENTIRE immigration system needs to be revamped and changed so that there are actual checks and balances, rather than this power vacuum that the judges and prisons where these individuals are detained are held. This is an excellent case of inhumanity. Yay US of A. I’m ashamed.

  3. Bob S. Says:

    This is where I’m on the fence…I think there is too much power in the Patriot Act definitely. I don’t trust the government with that much power, especially when it is so overwhelmingly misused.

    That we agree on, the aspect that people seem to forget is that illegal immigration is exactly that illegal.

    The consequences of getting caught by INS is well known, people not wanting to suffer those consequences shouldn’t be here illegally.

  4. Nomen Nescio Says:

    Bob, one question is whether or not this particular man was actually an illegal immigrant. having gone through the INS’ bureaucracy both before, during and after its recent spate of name changes, i learned that cases such as described in this article are very much in a legal gray area; a good immigration lawyer could likely have turned it either way.

    another, separate, question is why the hells he wasn’t given decent medical assistance while incarcerated. we owe prisoners that. we take away their right to self-determination and their ability to seek medical help on their own; in so doing, we take on the duty to do that for them, precisely because we don’t trust them with the liberty to do for themselves. denying them decent care with the excuse that some of them are malingerers is just not acceptable; by that standard we could deny prisoners everything and anything, to include food and water, because surely some of them abuse that too.

    yet a third question — the consequences of getting caught by the INS may be well known, but should death by cancer without medical help or even effective pain relief have to be among them? if so, why?

  5. Brendan Kehoe Says:

    Lorenzo asks the question what can we do. The abuses of both the Patriot Act, as well as in general federal Goverment abuse of powers granted to it have exceeded what should be the tolerance level of the citizens of this great nation.

    Congress is a bunch of do nothings, the executive branch has turned into a de facto political machine, and the Judiciary is afraid to act since there are no protests loud and clear in the streets.

    What we need is a third party political organization whose main purpose is to take back goverment and give it to the people. Organize protests, shut down goverment
    with organized peaceful rallies (goverment not working now, so shutting it down actually may be the best thing that could happen) and lead this nation back to what it once was.

    And for those ready to write me off as a bleeding liberal, etc, I’m actually a middle aged conservative businessman, but fed up with what I see occuring.

  6. Bob S. Says:


    I agree, there are serious questions that need to be answered and this sounds like a screw up all the way around on the part of the government.

    Mine was a reflexive response to the cry that illegal immigrants haven’t done anything wrong.

  7. Gretchen O. Says:

    I am interested in contributing to the Ng family legal expenses or trust account for the children.

  8. mikeb302000 Says:

    Now, Bob, I didn’t “cry that illegal immigrants haven’t done anything wrong.” That was the other day on that other thread. Today, what we’re talking about is abuse of power. The commenters seem to be in agreement, even Brendan, the conservative middle-aged business man. For once I seem to be with the majority. I guess it’s time for another post on guns or capital punishment.

  9. Bob S. Says:

    LOL Mike,

    Didn’t mean to accuse you of that, certainly don’t want you to loose your majority….save those post for another day.

    I was referring to the remarks made in the comments

    they’re faking their illness making criminals out of law abiding citizens whose only crime was not filing the right paperwork

    if they have a history of criminality than by all means a prison like place is perfect.

    I’m with the majority on this also for the most part. I think the government, all branches of the government are forgetting who is supposed to be in charge. I always chuckle when I see some politician in Washington described as our “political leaders”; sorry but they aren’t and shouldn’t be leaders, they are our servants. The tendency to forget that leads to the problems described.

  10. Arasmus Says:

    Link to petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Hiu Lui Ng case.

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