Youssef Megahed, a legal, permanent resident of the United States, has been re-arrested just three days after a federal jury found him not guilty of explosives charges. Legal experts cite Megahed’s detention as part of a federal government tendency to use immigration law when federal prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to convict persons in the criminal court. “They lost the case criminally because they don’t have a good case, and they turn around and prosecute him in immigration where the standards are lower and where you can keep somebody mandatorily detained simply by alleging he’s a terrorist,” said Miami immigration lawyer Ira Kurzban.
Megahed has lived in the United States with his family for more than 11 years, and is being held without bail as immigration authorities attempt to move deport him based on similar facts for which he was prosecutes in federal court. “The real problem is a complete fiction in immigration law,” Kurzban said. “On the one hand they say it’s not a criminal proceeding; it’s only a civil proceeding. That gives them the right to detain people forever, to abbreviate their constitutional rights, even though detention is clearly a punishment.”