From Jim Gilliam's blog archivesAshcroft's Tips
September 7, 2002 8:47 PM
About a month ago, John Ashcroft decided to start enforcing a 50 year old law that requires non-citizens to send the INS a change of address form within 10 days of moving.
Immigrants are quite familiar with ridiculous paperwork, so they started sending in the cards. Nearly a million have come in so far, and are continuing at a 30,000 a day clip. This compares with just 650 a day prior to the decree. America has 35 million non citizens, so no end is sight. Naturally, the INS is unable to handle this, so the cards are just sitting in boxes.
With the USA PATRIOT Act, Ashcroft can detain anyone who is living at an address that isn't on file with the INS, whether or not the cards have been processed or not. Remember Ashcroft's words? "Let the terrorists among us be warned, if you overstay your visas even by one day, we will arrest you."
There are already roughly 2000 immigrants being held indefinitely without bond for minor immigration violations or non-terrorist crimes.
Remember another fascist Ashcroft idea? Operation TIPS is trying to create a Stasi like movement of people spying on their neighbors. Naturally, this raised the ire of many different political groups, so its future is very much in doubt. One of the reasons cited was the overwhelming amount of information it would generate. Who could possibly sift through all of it?
Maybe this is how you really protect civil liberties. Just inundate the government with ridiculous amounts of information about every conceivable thing. It's like a distributed denial of service attack. The computers get overloaded with so many requests, the web site is unavailable. Or it's like talking the ear off of a nosy person. Eventually they get so annoyed, they leave you alone.
There is, however, one way this could back fire. If somehow the government hires my old data mining friend from Lycos to write software to analyze the data.
Then we'd have Minority Report.without the need for pre-cogs.
More from the archive in Civil Liberties.
Ashcroft's Tips (09.07.2002)