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L.A. Eight Face Deportation

February 25, 1999

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that illegal immigrants generally have no right to argue that they are victims of selective enforcement of immigration laws. This cleared a large hurdle in the government’s efforts to deport a group of Palestinians accused of supporting terrorism.

The U.S. has been trying since 1987 to deport seven Los Angeles-area based Palestinians and the Kenyan-born wife of one of them. Immigration officials say the nine are members or supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the U.S. government has labeled a terrorist organization.

The immigrants, who have come to be known as the "L.A. Eight," say that they are being persecuted for fund-raising activities that should be protected by free speech rights. But in an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants are not fully protected by the First Amendment when they are targeted for deportation. The ruling clears the way for deportation hearings to be held, although the "L.A. Eight" may face years of litigation before a final decision is made.


  • Marc Van Der Hout, co-counsel for the "L.A. Eight." Speaking from Florida.
  • Khader Hamide, one of the "L.A. Eight."
  • Hussein Ibish, Media Director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.