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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Help the Sun Set on the Patriot Act

Many sections of the Patriot Act are set to expire or "sunset" this year. Let's see that they do.
The Patriot Act contains more than 150 separate sections in 10 major titles. A number of it’s sections expire or "sunset" this year unless Congress votes to reauthorize it. Those sections set to expire include provisions that expand the government’s eligibility to wire-tap, monitor Internet usage, and obtain business and personal records of citizens and noncitizens alike. It also includes a provision that prohibits disclosure that information has been obtained under the act and one that prohibits lawsuits against people or companies that use the act.

There are, of course, sections that do not expire that also have egregious consequences for civil liberties. They include provisions that authorize and expand “sneak and peek? delayed-notice search warrants, expand grounds for deportation, permit lengthened detention of noncitizens (think Guantanamo), permit the setting of standards for domestic spying (think COINTELPRO), and define "domestic terrorism" so loosely that it can easily be applied to civil rights and other demonstrations.

Currently, Congress has to decide if it should let the sunsetting provisions expire. Although the provisions do not expire until the end of the year, word in Washington is that the Bush Administration is pushing Congress to make them permanent and put a bill declaring them so on his desk to be signed, symbolically, on September 11.

Although the entire act is heinous and must be repealed, the immediate step is to get support to allow the expiring provisions to sunset.

This is where you come in. It’s the action step.

One action is to contact your Congressperson. This site allows you to search by your address to identify who your representative and Senators are:

Another action is to use grassroots education. That means to educate yourself and get out on the street armed with informational flyers and placards. Here are some wonderful tools to help:
A flyer:
Posters with Impact:

Let’s do something while we still can.

Brent Mesick
Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights

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