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Erosion of Liberty Since September 11

Sept. 20, 2001: Department of Justice (DOJ) allows detention without charges in the event of “emergency or other extraordinary circumstance.”
Sept. 21, 2001: Chief Immigration Judge allows deportation hearings to be closed to public.
Sept. 24, 2001: President Bush declares National Emergency; orders executive agencies to stem the flow of money supporting terrorist organizations throughout the world.
Oct. 26, 2001: Congress passes and the
president signs USA Patriot Act, vastly expanding government power to monitor, target, and apprehend immigrants and US citizens.
Nov. 9, 2001: Attorney General (AG) directs FBI to interview 5,000 Arab/Muslim men.
Nov. 13, 2001: President issues Executive Order authorizing military tribunals to try non-citizens allegedly involved in international terrorism.
Nov. 16, 2001: DOJ refuses to release names and locations of 9/11 detainees (now estimated at more than 1,200, almost all Arab and Muslim men).
Dec. 4, 2001: AG testifies at Senate hearings that those who question and resist his policies are “aiding and abetting terrorism.”
Jan. 25, 2002: DOJ announces Alien Absconder Apprehension Initiative, which will first target 6,000 men from “al Qaeda-harboring countries” for apprehension.
Feb. 26, 2002: DOJ reports on interviews of 5,000 Arab/Muslim men: 2,261 were inter-viewed; less than 20 were taken into custody; 3 were charged with crimes unrelated to 9/11. No evidence was found to link any to terrorism.
March 19, 2002: DOJ announces interviews of another 3,000 Arab/Muslim men.
April 2002: INS conducts raids on airports throughout the US. 366 immigrants are arrested.
June 26, 2002: President declares US citizens Jose Padilla and Yassar Hamdi “Enemy Combat-ants” but refuses to release actual order. No criminal charges filed against either. President says they can be held indefinitely without access to attorney or federal courts.
July 26, 2002: AG issues rule that requires cer-tain immigrants to provide a change of address to the INS within 10 days. Failure to do so is a criminal violation and can trigger deportation.
Aug. 12, 2002: AG orders non-citizens from 25 Arab and/or Muslim countries to be fingerprinted and photographed.
Sept. 2002: More than 200 college administrators are asked by the federal government to provide information on their Middle Eastern students.


Compiled by Ann Benson, directing attorney, Washington Defenders' Immigration Project.

See associated article: Speaking for Justice by Pramila Jayapal

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