From pillar to Post


Enemy Aliens, Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism by David Cole published in 2003. Shortly after WW1, the US entered a period of paranoia and fear of communists and anarchists. J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Palmer tried to arrest and deport as many suspicious aliens as they could with little protection for the rights of the aliens. US citizens were also scooped up in the web of suspicions, like Muslims are now.

Louis Freeland Post was Acting Secretary of Labor at the time, under Wilson, and aged 70. Under much criticism, he defied Congress, the press and Hoover, and cancelled the deportation of most, but not all, of the aliens that the FBI had rounded up as suspicious. He stated:

“We should not apply to cases involving human rights the rules exclusively that would apply to property questions under administrative process. Administrative process is a very dangerous institution for a country like ours to adopt with reference to personal liberty, and it is pretty near time that some check was put upon its development so far as it affects rights to personal liberty.”

A courageous man. We could use some of that courage today.