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Pros/Cons Patriot Act

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Pros and Cons of Patriot Act

The House of Representatives passed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 on October 24, 2001. This is also known as the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was designed to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world and to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools (USA Patriot Act, 2001). The events of September 11, 2001 led to the near unanimous support for the Patriot Act. In this paper, our learning team will discuss the many pros and cons of the Patriot Act of 2001.

We will begin by discussing the positive aspects of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act amended United States Code section 2703 title 18 that dealt with electronic surveillance subpoenas thereby enhancing law enforcement's surveillance capabilities. The Patriot Act widened the scope for subpoenas for records of electronic communication. It added local and long distance telephone connection records or records of session times and durations. It also changed wording to telephone or instrument number, including network addresses. The final change to this section was making the means and source of payment for such services available.

Another positive aspect of the Patriot Act is the "Sunset Clause". This may be the most important pro of the Patriot Act. Section 224 states that most of the amendments made by the Patriot Act end on December 31, 2005. This will allow government officials to review its effectiveness and decide on the value of the amended US Patriot Act.

The final pro of the Patriot Act we will discuss is the increased restrictions on immigration. Alison Bradley (2002) said the Patriot Act "permits the indefinite suspension of immigrants on minor visa violations" (p. 1). However, the review process

for detentions must be based on reasonable grounds that the alien will commit an act of terror. The aliens may be detained for up to six months if the release is likely to threaten national security. This pro could also be argued as a negative aspect due to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution which was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Zadvydas v. Davis. The higher Court concluded that the statute Title 8 U.S.C. Ð'§1231(a)(6) "did not authorize detention for more than a reasonable time beyond the 90-day period authorized for removal."

This brings us to our first con related to the USA Patriot Act, which is the possible violation of the Sixth Amendment. The United States Constitution's Sixth Amendment gives the right to trial, notice of accusation, and the right to legal counsel. Hundreds of "suspected terrorists" are being held in Cuba as a result of the Patriot Act. Some argue that this is because it's not United States Territory and they will not have to meet the same constitutional requirements. The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on this matter April 20, 2004. Many of them have not been officially charged with a



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