Safouh Hamoui was right when he told his lawyer that it is "a true victory for the community." Granting the Syrian-born Hamoui permanent residence was also a victory for America.You can read the story of this local family, "In Their Words: Family in detention points to religion," here.
Hamoui, his wife and some of their children came to the edge of deportation after U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft launched a post-Sept. 11 initiative to remove some illegal immigrants. As was eventually shown in court, Hamoui faced the possibility of torture in authoritarian Syria. Indeed, as a visiting Justice Department official once acknowledged, the whole family's case was compelling.
But it took a community cast of heroes, fine legal services and the judges of the splendid 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to create justice in the face of stubborn Justice Department pursuit of their removal. Just a few of the local stars are the Hamouis themselves; attorney Bernice Funk; activist Rita Zawaideh; the Arab American Community Coalition; experts who made the case about Syrian human rights violations; and the Lane, Powell law firm.
We may never fully understand just why it took so long for justice to triumph over the workings of the Justice Department. It's clear the orders were being called in D.C. offices, not here. But it was the American spirit, mustered at a local level, that won.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
"Immigration Law: 'A true victory'
Seattle P-I Editorial Board: