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FBI Interviews of Arab-Americans

January 23, 1991

The reports of FBI "interviews" of Arab-Americans bode ill for all of us. Unfortunately, governmental activity concerned with the Arab-American community has not been limited to this intimidation tactic.

For four years the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been trying to deport several Palestinian peace activists despite the government's acknowledgment that the immigrants have never committed any criminal act. Proceedings are expected to recommence after March 1.

Still more chilling is the government's plan, uncovered in the deportation case, to engage in mass roundups, internment and deportations of Arab immigrants "based solely on nationality." There remains in Oakdale, La., a campsite established to intern such Arab immigrants, with a capacity of 5,000, that could, according to the plan, be activated in two to four weeks. All that is required to activate it is a declaration of a "national emergency." INS spokespersons have denied the plan is in effect, but they will not say it will not be used.

Let us hope after just paying reparations to one abused minority--Japanese-Americans--for their unlawful and wholly demeaning internment during World War II, we are not now preparing to intern and demean another. Personally, I would like some assurances. Is there anyone in the INS willing to say "it cannot happen here--again?"

BRIAN HUDSON

Los Angeles

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