Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he and his family, like many Americans of the Islamic faith, felt persecuted by their neighbors, despite having had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.' Mr. Rashid felt intimidated by people following him and calling his home to accuse him of complicity in the September 11 attacks. After weeks of harassment, Mr. Rashid's family contacted the police. Unfortunately for Mr. Rashid, however, he shared a name with a suspected terrorist. Thus, instead of addressing Rashid's concerns, the U.S. government began to suspect him as well. Then, on April 17, 2003, Rashid was involved in a physical confrontation with some of the same local troublemakers who had been harassing his family during the previous two years. He claimed self-defense, but the prosecutor disagreed and charged him with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, for which he was sentenced to 401 days in prison, most of which was suspended. Despite his relatively minor offense (he served well under one year in jail), the crime constituted an aggravated felony under federal immigration law. This meant that the government could deport Mr. Rashid without the procedural safeguards normally available to those facing deportation through a process known as expedited removal. The government wanted to separate Mr. Rashid from his home and family even though the law appeared unjustly applied in his case.' Mr. Rashid had done nothing but share the name of a noted terrorist, yet the government singled him out for persecution under an overly broad immigration law.'"