The &Quot;Patriot Act&Quot; Essay

1269 words - 5 pages

The September 11 terrorist attacks led to the Patriot Act, which was a law passed just six weeks after the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit. This Act was passed by the Senate the day before by a vote of 98-1. The Bush Administration considered this Act a form of "anti-terrorism weapon."* Despite his opinion many citizens consider this Act unconstitutional and a violation of our rights. In addition, some felt that their privacy was being invaded and soon coming to an end. On the other-hand some consider this Act reasonable due to the safety it would bring the citizens because many lives are threatened here in America. The Patriot Act expands the powers of the Executive Branch, such as search, surveillance, and INS powers as well criminal laws.

There has been many victims of this Patriot Act already. "The Department of Justice (DOJ) has admitted to detaining more than 1,100 immigrants, not one of whom has been charged with committing a terrorist act and only a handful of whom are being held as material witnesses to the September 11 hijackings."* Many of these victims have been held for extended periods of time without even committing major immigration violations. INS had their powers extended by being permitted to detain aliens without charge for 48 hours or any other reasonable amount of time. The Attorney General declared in favor of The Patriot Act and this was demonstrated when his announced "Let the terrorists among us be warned, if you overstay your visas even by one day, we will arrest you."*

Amendments were written to change laws and now it seems that even these amendments are being changed as well. There has been a suspension of the Fourth Amendment, which requires the Executive Branch to have a search warrant when searching a home. Now the Executive Branch has the power to do warrantless searches. Once there, they are allowed to seize any item that they consider valuable as evidence and sometimes they do not even need to notify the owner. The Section of 218 is scheduled to expire on December 31,2005. When the Supreme court was encountered with the case of United States v. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan they rejected President Nixon's executive power to conduct warrantless wiretaps and now it is been done.

The Bryant letter declares that "As commander-in-Chief, the President must be able to use whatever means necessary to prevent attacks upon the United States."* In my opinion this Act is reasonable if used under self defense. "If the government's heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it certainly would also justify warrantless searches."*

The First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and political association are put in jeopardy as well by dying entry to non-citizens on the basis of ideology and by the creation of "domestic terrorism." These actions have taken place to reduce or eliminate terrorist activities....

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