The U.S. Patriot Act
On October 26, 2001, 45 days after the tragic event that took place on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush signed an act of congress that would implement in to American law what is known as the U.S. Patriot Act. Individuals and professionals opposed to and in favor of the U.S. Patriot Act have both scrutinized the Act on numerous occasions. The U.S. Patriot Act consists of 10 titles, some of which I will cover throughout. Furthermore, I will display advantages and positive consequences that can be found within the Patriot Act along with the disadvantages and negative consequences many Americans, immigrants, and illegal immigrants have encountered as a result of.
Title one of the U.S. Patriot Act is designed to augment domestic security strategies by providing additional funding to the FBI’s technical support center. This in return, will permit the FBI the ability to purchase updated equipment; therefore, alleviating the numerous technological issues the FBI had encountered within the department long before the events of 9/11. In addition, the bill will assist with fighting the war on domestic terrorism by providing funding that will enable departments, such as the INS, border patrol, and U.S. customs service the ability to prevent individuals from entering the United States illegally or with ease.
Title one of the bill will denounce those who discriminate against any individual and immigrant while protecting the Rights and Civil liberties of Arab and Muslim Americans and the numerous ethnic groups and religious-cultural belief that exist within the United States. Moreover, the request of assistance from the U.S. military where a potential threat against the United States would seem prominent with the use of a weapon of mass destruction was also added into the bill under title one (Trandahl, 2001).
Under title four of the U.S. Patriot Act, rewards are offered by the government to individuals who can present valuable incriminating evidence to law enforcement regarding terrorist leads. Title VI makes available additional governmental funding that is used to develop programs designed to facilitate 9/11 victims, first responders, and families of victims who have suffered, and been affected by terrorism. Additionally, compensation to the victimized is another benefit that comes from the U.S. Patriot Act’s title VI.
Title two and three of the U.S. Patriot Act is considered by many to infringe on the Rights and Civil liberties of the countless ethnic groups that exist within contemporary America. The U.S. Patriot Act under certain circumstance clearly displays a degree of bias, prejudice, and discrimination that should not exist. One issue falls under title two that allows law enforcement to search and seize confidential records of businesses for possible money laundering (“Corrections”, 2002). Where discrimination is displayed in this event is where a vast majority of businesses being targeted for record searches are owned and operated by immigrants not White Americans. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Probable cause and a warrant must be obtained prior before any level of law enforcement is allowed to carry out a search, and seizure. Unfortunately, the federal government is exempt from establishing probable cause, and obtaining a warrant (National League of Cities, 2003).
Title three allows the federal government to detain and imprison individuals who are suspected of terrorism or born in a foreign country, or owe political allegiance to another country for up to seven days, or under certain circumstances for an indefinite period without being charged for a crime. This violates the Sixth Amendment Right that guarantees an individual will be informed of the charges being brought against the individual, and the right to a speedy trial. Title three further violates the Fourteenth Amendment Right that guarantees these protections to all citizens, regardless of any state law, or procedure. At one point the INS had racially profiled individuals through the use of their visa’s, contacted over five thousands individuals, and arrested and detained thousands. Local and state law enforcement officers would find themselves in a civil suit, facing criminal charges-department reprimand, and the case could be potentially lose due to the Due Process of Law not being followed.
The end result stands a bill passed by congress and signed into effect on October 26, 2001 by the President of the United States with the philosophy the United States and those within it will now be better protected against future terrorist attacks. Realistically, no matter what counter terrorism strategies our government uses, our government cannot prevent all terrorist attacks from occurring nor can our government protect all Americans from another 9/11. Though I believe extreme measures call for extreme decisions and strategies the U.S. Patriot Act is just that. I believe it is fair to say no matter what horrific events take place there are always going to be individuals who are in favor of and those who are opposed to the final decisions made and put in to effect. The U.S. Patriot Act can be considered a necessary evil, something that does in fact, go against our country’s principles, and the constitution which has been enforced for many years.
Corrections. (2002, December 13). Issues & Controversies on File. Retrieved September 27, 2009, from Issues and Controversies database.
National League of Cities. (2003, December). U.S. Cities Oppose Sections of the Patriot Act. Retrieved September 27, 2009, from Gale PowerSearch database.
Trandahl, J. (2001). Electronic Privacy Information Center. Title I–Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism. Retrieved September 28, 2009, from http://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html