Folks, too many people are resting on the fact that City Council passed a resolution against the Patriot Act, and now 192 cities have passed such legislation. We cannot be resting. The Patriot Act is still there hanging over our heads. Immigrants continue to be arrested. And look at the new legislation being introduced. --
Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Tools Improvement Act of 2003
Bill Number: H.R. 3179
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Intelligence Committee
On September 25, Rep. James Sensenbrenner intoduced the Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Tools Improvement Act of 2003. If passed, this law would provide new penalties for violating the non-disclosure provisions of so-called "national security letters"; provide for judicial enforcement of requests for information under such national security letters; and facilitate the use of information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in immigration proceedings.
Antiterrorism Tools Enhancement Act
Bill Number: H.R. 3037
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
On September 9, Rep. Tom Feeney introduced H.R. 3037, the Antiterrorism Tools Enhancement Act. If it is passed in its present form, the Act would authorize the administration to issue subpoenas without having to show probable cause. The Act requires only that the information sought by the administrative subpoenas is relevant to an ongoing investigation. It also contains a provision for the Attorney General to issue a gag order that forbids the person served the subpoena from disclosing its existence.
Pretrial Detention and Lifetime Supervision of Terrorists Act
Bill Number: H.R. 3040
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary On September 9, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA) introduced H.R. 3040, the Pretrial Detention and Lifetime Supervision of Terrorists Act. If passed, the law would deny bail to anyone accused of domestic or international terrorism. And the definition of domestic terrorism is broad enough to include legitimate demonstrations that suddenly, through no fault of the organizers, turn violent. Goodlatte's bill ignores the right of bail as granted by the Eighth Amendment.
Terrorist Penalties Enhancement Act
Bill Number: S. 1604
Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
On September 10, 2003, Senator Arlen Specter introduced S.1604. This bill authorizes the death penalty for any act of domestic or international terrorism that results in the death of a person.
CLEAR ACT (The Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal )
Bill Number: H.R. 2671
Status: Subcommittee hearings held 10/1/03
Rep. Charlie Norwood (GA) introduced this bill that would withhold funds from state and local law enforcement agencies that do not agree to enforce immigration laws. It would reward those state and local police agencies that do help round up illegal immigrants a share of fines and forfeited property and financial assistance for equipment, technology and facilities to incarcerate detainees as well as personal and agency immunity for any claim arising out of the enforcement of immigration law. It would also undermine community policing, and prevent immigrants from coming forward to report crime. For an analysis of the introduced bill , go to the National Immigration Forum's website. VICTORY ACT (Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations)
Senators Hatch (R-UT), Sessions (R-AL), Kyl (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), and Cornryn (R-TX) drafted the Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations (VICTORY) Act. The legislation would make drug possession a terrorist offense, increase the threshold for rejecting illegal wiretaps, and increase the power of the federal government by expanding its authority to use administrative subpoenas in all terrorism investigations. The Victory Act has yet to be introduced.
On December 18th, two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals issued decisions upholding the rights to counsel of detainees labeled by the Bush Administration as 'enemy combatants' and held indefinitely. The decisions are victories for the Constitution. The administration is expected to appeal, and in the first case, which applies to Jose Padilla, it may ask Congress to authorize the Executive Branch to designate U.S. citizens taken on U.S. soil "enemy combatants," further enhancing the power of the Executive Branch and limiting the power of the Judicial and Legislative Branches. In the second case, concerning the rights of detainees at the U.S. base in Guantanamo, the Administration may wait for the Supreme Court's decision. See summary.
Also on December 18th, Justice Department's Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released a report that details rampant abuse of post September 11 detainees at a Brooklyn, NY, detention center. Fine used videotapes for corroborating evidence of the abuse, which included slamming detainees' faces into walls, twisting their arms, hands, and fingers, stepping on their chains, and making verbal threats.
Reports that "Special Registration" has ended are untrue. It is true that beginning December 2, 2003, men from 25 countries who have already registered do not need to reregister annually. Point of entry follow-up interviews are also suspended. Nevertheless, several parts of the Special Registration program remain. Read AILA's summary of changes to the Department of Homeland Security's Special Registration program.
On November 21, Congress passed an intelligence spending bill (H.R. 2417) that includes a section from the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (AKA "Patriot II"). The section enhances the FBI's use of national security letters to acquire records by expanding the definition of "financial institution" to include the U.S. postal service, travel agencies, car dealers, and other businesses whose "cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax or regulatory matters." Briefly, national security letters require no judge and no congressional oversight. In fact, a "gag order" provision prevents reporting by the FBI, the Justice Department or the businesses that are required to turn over their records. Read article by Ryan Singel. Read speeches of House members who explain why they opposed the provision.
Reprinted from the Bill of Rights Committee newsletter