News

Oppose the Expansion of the PATRIOT Act

July, 2005

Dear Friend,

At the National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement (NLSCA), we are dedicated to protecting the civil rights, human rights, and dignity of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian peoples in the United States that face systematic discrimination in the post 9/11 era. We have worked tirelessly to defend the basic freedoms of individuals who live in fear of their own government due to invasive legislation such as the PATRIOT Act. We are appealing to you today to help end these inequitable policies by urging Congress to let portions of the PATRIOT Act “sunset” and expire this year.

Almost four years after the tragedy of September 11 th , another tragedy continues to develop—the unjust targeting of the Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities—which threatens to divide us as a nation. Innocent men, women, and children from these communities still face discrimination, violence, and intimidation in the United States , simply because of their ethnicity or their religion. As an organization that defends the rights of these communities, we have witnessed the detrimental impact of the government’s policies under the PATRIOT Act. In 2001 Congress rushed through the PATRIOT Act without adequately reading and reviewing the legislation. Under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which authorizes the government to seize an individual’s medical, library, business, and travel records without his or her knowledge, we have witnessed the direct threat to the fundamental constitutional rights of these communities. In addition, section 213, which expands the government’s ability to conduct “sneak and peek” searches and seize an individual’s property without their awareness, further erodes privacy and security . These provisions have violated the basic freedoms of many individuals and have created a general hostile environment, filling these communities with a sense of fear of their own government. In 2005 Congress has a full five months for careful debate and thoughtful review of the PATRIOT Act. This time Congress can take the time needed to read and review the proposed reauthorization.

Thus, we, at the NLSCA, urge you to oppose the expansion of the PATRIOT Act and ensure that Congress brings it back in line with the fundamental values of our country. The Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities are a vital part of the American fabric. Governmental targeting based on religious faith and ethnicity is un-American. Since voting on the PATRIOT Act is this week, please call or write your House Representative and Senator today and insist that they restore the humanity to these communities by ensuring that the sunset provisions expire this year. Ask Congress to this time not rush to a vote without full debate and careful review. We thank you for taking the time to protect and defend the equal human and civil rights of all Americans.

Sincerely,

Banafsheh Akhlaghi, Esq.

President and CEO

 

 

 
     

Copyright © 2005. NLSCA All rights reserved.