June 18, 2005

Losing The American Dream

Last April, I wrote about the detention of two teenage girls on terrorist charges. Via Avedon Carol, I see there is an update to this story. The 16 year old Bangladeshi girl, with her mother, younger sister and baby brother are now back in Dkaha, Bangladesh, because even though she has finally been released, she was only released on the condition that she leave the country.

10 year old sister reflects on the her future in Bangladesh

Tashnuba's younger sister contemplates on what her future will be in Bangladesh --- Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

The family had come from Bangladesh and both mother and father had applied for political asylum when Tashnuba was 5 years old, believing that America was the land of human rights and opportunity. But in the late 90s their applications had elapsed, so when the Government decided Tashnuba was a terrorist threat to America, they used the immigration laws to hold her until finally a government psychiatrist determined that she had no sign of being an imminent suicide bomber. Even though she was determined to not be a terrorist threat, the government continued to hold her. So the Bangladeshi general consul asked the government why she was being held.

The sole reason Tashnuba was being held was her "unlawful presence" in the United States.

The other girl was allowed to return to her East Harlem high school in early May, under strict conditions including an order not to discuss the case. But for Tashnuba, there was no prospect of release, her lawyer, Troy Mattes, said he was told.

Broke and distraught, Tashnuba's mother asked to take "voluntary departure" with her daughter, rather than fight. The government agreed, and an immigration judge issued the necessary order.

Her father and younger brother are still in the US, hiding so that the son can finish school. Tashnuba and her younger sister, Tamana, who is an American citizen by birth and only speaks English, will have no such future.

Once these shores were known for these words:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Today, our shores are known for paranoid government agents snooping into the lives of 16 year old girls to "protect the homeland." Thus, the American dream is tattered in the hurricane winds of those who let their own terror howl across the land.

Update: via Jeanne, we find that bookofdays covers this story in depth.

Posted by Mary at June 18, 2005 06:13 PM | War on Terrorism | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

we are imprisoning 16 year old girls?

can i just ask, have i gone crazy?

Posted by: Hubris Sonic at June 19, 2005 08:21 AM

Hubris Sonic, no, the fact that you are shocked indicates you are not crazy. But, this story shows just how crazy our country has become behind the fear that any shadow can be a terrorist.

Posted by: Mary at June 19, 2005 09:53 AM

HS - Just be glad you're not around to have to face some of the smug bastards who don't see anything wrong with it. If you want to talk about things that can drive a person crazy ...

Posted by: natasha at June 19, 2005 11:47 AM

No story here.

Illegal immigrants get deported everyday for a variety of reasons.

Imagine how the NYT story would read if a girl like her did commit a terrorist act. The NYT would blast the FBI as incompent for not acting on the "obvious" warning signs.

Posted by: Sad.But at June 20, 2005 03:54 PM

sad - No story? Are you kidding? She's got at least one immediate relative that's a citizen. Their family has been broken up, and her parents denied asylum for absolutely no reason at all.

There's the rules, and there are the rules. Do you feel safer now, knowing that the DHS is sniffing out teenage angst?

And frankly, it's just creepy as hell that she was picked up because she was a depressed teenager with a bit of religious sentiment and romantic confusion who took notes on a class discussion about suicide. That describes at least half the teenagers in this country, and my god, it would have got me locked up good and proper.

But yeah, I can imagine what the papers would say if she'd done something, and most of it would probably be BS. If you think that being an effed in the head teenager is something that only happens to brown people from third world countries, I have two words for you: Dylan Klebold.

Posted by: natasha at June 21, 2005 01:59 AM