NCAC and nine other academic and free expression groups filed an amicus brief in an important free speech and academic freedom case now pending in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves a provision of the USA PATRIOT ACT which allows the government to deny a visa to anyone who, in the government’s judgment, "endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization." According to the government, this broad grant of authority is necessary to prevent the "irresponsible expressions of opinion by prominent aliens." This "ideological exclusion provision" thus gives the government license to prevent foreigners from entering the United States if the government thinks their views are "irresponsible." A plaintiff in the case, Tariq Ramadan, is a respected Muslim academic and theologian from Switzerland who was denied entry into the United States after he had been offered, and had accepted, a tenured position at the University of Notre Dame. The exclusion of scholars such as Ramadan seriously infringes academic inquiry and public debate about critical foreign policy issues and is inconsistent with the basic premises of our constitutional system. Click to download a pdf of the Amicus brief.
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