A challenge to the McCarran-Walter Act has been mounted by the CCR and the ACLU of Southern California on behalf of seven Palestinians and a Kenyan who were arrested, held without bail, and threatened with deportation because of alleged “membership” or “affiliation” with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Pales tine(PFLP), a group which according to the INS advocates “doctrines of world communism:’ According to government sources the group was charged under the McCarran-Walter Act because a year-long investigation produced no evidence of criminality.
The government has defended the statute, which authorizes the deportation of aliens for speech and association of a nature clearly protected by the First Amendment, by saying that the Bill of Rights is “constitutionally irrelevant” when the INS seeks to deport an alien.
The district court judge declined to rule on the merits of plaintiffs’ case, however, holding that the Ninth Circuit should more properly consider the case. The decision is on appeal. Plaintiffs have also filed an original mandamus action with the Ninth Circuit.
David Cole, Michael Ratner, with Paul Hoffman, Carol Sobel, Mark Rosenbaum, ACLU Foundation of Southern California; Dan Stormer, Marc Van Der Hout, NLG; Wade Henderson, Hope Nakamura, ACLU; and Peter Schey, National Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Inc.