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Nation in brief

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 9, 2002

Haitians seeking asylum no longer to go free on bail

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration announced Friday that Haitians and others who attempt to enter the United States illegally by sea will be detained and subject to an expedited process to send them back home.

An Immigration and Naturalization Service statement says that even the perception that rules are being relaxed could spur a mass migration that threatens national security.

Although Justice Department officials said the move was made under existing authority, immigration activists said it marked a change in that most Haitians no longer will be able to go free on bail while awaiting the outcome of their asylum cases.

The INS statement says that illegal migrants will be placed in expedited removal proceedings and will probably be detained during any appeals at the discretion of the Justice Department. This would apply to anyone arriving illegally by sea except Cubans, who are exempted under a 1966 law.

The rules are expected to take effect sometime next week, officials said.

D-day memorial seeks bankruptcy shield

ROANOKE, Va. -- The National D-Day Memorial Foundation filed for bankruptcy to protect the $25-million monument from creditors while it contends with massive debt, foundation officials said Friday.

The memorial, which President Bush helped dedicate June 6, 2001, has trimmed a $7-million debt to about $4-million since acknowledging its financial troubles last year.

It sought to reorganize with bankruptcy protection when creditors continued to push for a regular payment agreement, said Peter Viemeister, chairman of the foundation's board of directors.

Judge smoked pot at Stones show

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A judge went on indefinite voluntary leave after admitting smoking marijuana at a Rolling Stones concert.

A woman told court officials she saw District Judge Thomas Gilbert smoke a joint passed along a row of people at an Oct. 12 concert in Detroit, 250 miles from Traverse City, where Gilbert works.

The woman was from Elk Rapids, a town near Traverse City that lies within Gilbert's district.

Gilbert, 45, admitted to the allegations during a meeting this week with Chief District Judge Michael Haley and District Judge Thomas J. Phillips. He left the bench on Wednesday.

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