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|Second Oregon Town Refuses Justice Dept Interviews|
|11/29/01 at 23:47:29|
|Thursday November 29 11:06 AM ET|
Ore. PD Won't Interview Foreigners
By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER, Associated Press Writer
Police in an Oregon college town became the second force to rebuff federal
law enforcers' plans to interview foreigners as part of an antiterrorism
In Michigan, meanwhile, a newspaper report of a federal memo has increased
doubts about a program encouraging people from countries where Osama bin
Laden's terror network has been active to come forward for questioning.
Corvallis, Ore., police said Wednesday they would refuse to interview
foreign visitors as part of the federal probe. Portland, Ore., had been
the only city to refuse the request by the Justice Department to
participate in the interviews, citing state privacy laws.
As many as 5,000 foreign visitors will be questioned nationwide - some 200
Corvallis Police Chief Pam Roskowski said the city of 50,000 will be
better served if officers concentrate on criminal investigations rather
than interviewing people on the federal list who are not criminal
``It is incumbent on all law enforcement agencies to promote the balance
of protecting the community ... while preserving the freedoms and civil
liberties of all residents,'' the police statement said.
Federal agents will likely question 23 foreign visitors in the Portland
area since police have refused to take part, the U.S. Attorney's office
said Wednesday. About 30 people will be interviewed in Corvallis, home of
Oregon State University.
In Michigan, home to the nation's largest concentration of Arab-Americans,
the U.S. Attorney in Detroit announced Monday that federal investigators
would ask Middle Easterners and other foreigners to submit to questioning
rather than be sought out.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reported on a U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service memo that said some foreigners wanted for
questioning may be jailed without bond if investigators wanted to
scrutinize them further.
The memo, dated Friday, also said people with visa violations and those of
interest to local FBI agents and U.S. attorneys can be held by
Noel Saleh, a Detroit immigration attorney, expressed fears that using the
INS to hold people based on a request from the FBI left plenty of room for
``It's hardly a method of voluntary cooperation when you start holding
people with no bond based on what is I'm certain will be some
investigators' jaundiced view,'' Saleh said. ``This basically confirms
everybody's worst fears that this is a witch-hunt and a dragnet, and
people are going to get swept up in it for no reason.''
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