USA Patriot Act Paper Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 27 December 2016

USA Patriot Act Paper

September 11, 2001 America was changed forever. The United Stated felt the effects of terrorism and realized just how vulnerable we are as a nation. Having experienced such a horrific event forced our government to look at things more closely which brought about the USA Patriot Act. This allowed federal agents the ability to detain non-citizens while also monitoring such devices as email and internet and an increase in monitoring student visas. Many argue the USA Patriot Act and say it is a violation our certain rights. They feel as though the government is invading their privacy and civil liberties. This paper will address the advantages and disadvantages to the USA Patriot Act.

Introduction

The USA Patriot Act was established to increase protection for the United States citizens. It was not devised to infringe upon people’s rights or to become intrusive into their private lives. It was merely meant as a means to protect our nation and those of us living here. On the other hand there are many United States citizens who view this much differently they feel as though the government is using the 9/11 tragedy as a means to gain more control. I wonder if we all thought we were unattainable as a nation before the 9/11 attacks? We quickly realized that day just how vulnerable we really are and still are today nearly 12 years later. This paper will talk about the advantages and the disadvantages of the USA Patriot Act.

Disadvantages

There are many supporters and there are many who do not support the USA Patriot Act. Those who do not support the act feel as though civil liberties and rights will be and are compromised as a result. When a terrible act of violence occurs the government and its officials go into high gear to beef up security. With the USA Patriot Act beefing up security means the dismantling of civil liberties (Point). Those who oppose the Patriot Act says that rather than innocent until proven guilty they are guilty by association therefore enforcing deportation if they are not US citizens. They can do this without a hearing or showing or proving that they may pose a threat to the United Stated and those of us residing here. They are deemed terrorists in a sense. There are many who feel that the implementation of the USA Patriot Act has made life nearly impossible for Muslims and people from the Middle Eastern descent that are still residing here in America.

They feel as though American has taken far too many steps to locate and prosecute those who caused harm on September 11, 2001 and in the wake of this search they have pointed fingers and thrown out accusations on individuals residing here in the United States that are Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. This has caused a great deal of heartache and distrust for not only members of our government, but also military, and law enforcement officials. Some of these individuals had their homes raided and searched while others faced ridicule and accusations and mistreatment. During the Bush Administration there was a great deal of communication along with news coverage to enhance the support of the nation after the attacks took place in hopes of the acceptance of the implementation of the USA Patriot Act.

The one thing to consider is that although this was an extreme attack on our nation it should not be treated as an isolated incident and that we should understand just how vulnerable we are. As Thurgood Marshall stated: “History teaches that grace threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure… when we allow fundamental freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of real or perceived exigency, we invariably come to regret it.” (www.ccclr.org). Many also view the USA Patriot act as a violation to our First, Fourth, and Fifth Constitutional Amendments. The “gag” command is an example of the first amendment being in violation. This is where agencies can request records of an individual without informing them (ACLU, 2003).

The Fourth Amendment is referring to search and seizure where many view this as the worst violation of all. This is when the government or law enforcement can take a look into your life and personal belongings without having to show probable cause (ACLU, 2003). Then finally there is the Fifth Amendment and this is where we as US citizens have a right to due process. The Fourth Amendment violation in turn is a direct violation the Fifth Amendment. Those who disagree with the USA Patriot Act feel as though this is not in fact an act to solely protect US soil but it has turned out to be an attack on Americans and our rights. There has been a lack of accountability for some of these acts therefore putting the credibility of those enforcing and utilizing the Patriot Act in question. It is more like a freedom of surrender.

Advantages

The purpose for the USA Patriot Act was to protect American’s against foreign and domestic terrorism. The act allows federal, governmental, and state agencies the ability to communicate between agencies to streamline information regarding terrorist activities (Doyle, 2002). If a terrorist is caught committing terrorist acts will face tougher federal penalties which mean that the terrorist will remain behind bars. The act also provides more funding for the victims of terrorist attacks as well as their families.

Conclusion

The USA Patriot Act was thought of and enforced after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. When it was apparent it was clearly a terrorist attack on the United States the government knew they needed to enforce security for those of us living in America. The Patriot Act gives more authority to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to gather evidence against terrorism (Doyle, 2002). The immigration laws are much stricter than they once were along with other security measures that obviously America was in need of. With the Patriot Act there are obvious sacrifices that we Americans have had to make in an effort to ensure safety from terrorism. There will always be give and takes when it comes to protection and with all security measures foreign and domestic there will be individuals that feel violated. The USA Patriot Act was designed to ensure security for Americans while allowing accountability for those who want to cause harm.

References
American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.). (2003). Criminal Law Forum: Messerschmidt v. Millender (2011) Retrieved from:
http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/messerschmidt-v-millender C. Doyle, “The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch,” [online document], CRS Report for Congress, 2002 {2007, February 25}, retrieved from: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS21203.pdf CCCLR’s position, including how PA guts 1st Amendment Retrieved from: http://www.ccclr.org/documents.ccclrpositionpaper.htm

Fritscher, Lisa USA Patriot Act: Pros and Cons. Retrieved from:

http://www.lifescript.com/soul/self/growth/usa_patriot_act_pros_and_cons.aspx?p=1

O’Connell, Mary Ellen. “Lawful and Unlawful Wars Against Terrorism.” In Law in the War on

International Terrorism, 79-96.
Patriot Act Unconstitutional. Retrieved from: http://dirtline.tripod.com/patriotgetinline/id6.html Weigel, David. “When Patriots Dissent.” Reason 37 (6), November, 2005. http://www.reason.com/news/show/33167.html

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