Ending a controversial 20-year campaign to expel immigrants because of their ties to alleged Palestinian terrorists, the federal government has agreed to drop attempts to deport the final two defendants in the L.A. 8 case.
The Board of Immigration Appeals on Tuesday dismissed all charges against Khader M. Hamide and Michel I. Shehadeh, who had faced deportation proceedings since 1987, and approved a settlement submitted by the men’s lawyers and the Department of Homeland Security, according to documents made public Wednesday.
The case, which placed seven Palestinian men and a Kenyan woman in legal and personal limbo for more than two decades, foreshadowed government efforts after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to ferret out potentially dangerous Muslim militants in the U.S.
But Hamide, Shehadeh and the other defendants were never charged with an act of terrorism or with any other crime. Rather, they were accused of supporting the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical offshoot of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has taken credit for car bombings and airline hijackings in the Middle East.
Specifically, the government targeted the eight immigrants’ efforts to distribute Al Hadaf, the Popular Front’s magazine, a publication available in public libraries, on college campuses and even at the U.S. Library of Congress.