Wednesday, November 02, 2005

visit America: the USA PATRIOT Act 


They took my mother and these two students into a room and fingerprinted all three of them. They then took their mug shots. They then recorded their iris data. After that they had to wait around for a while. My mother talked to Officer 2 who at this point was calmer, at least to her. She asked why the students were even pulled off the bus at all (even though she knew it was their ethnicity.) He had no answer, saying it was Officer 1's choice. She asked why Officer 1 has the power to do something like that, and he said these words: "Our President has changed the rules." She asked what those rules were, and he said "The new PATRIOT Act." ....

After more waiting around Officer 2 called a cab, which brought my mother and the two students back across the bridge into the Canadian border crossing. They then had to go through Canadian customs, which was unsurprisingly hassle-free, before taking another cab into Queenston and waiting until the bus returned to pick them up, as she had given her cell number to the other teacher. Feeling obviously distraught, she had talked a while with the Canadian border guard about what had just happened. The Canadian guard told her that in the last two weeks, since they "changed the rules," this kind of thing is going on constantly. He told her stories that were even worse than hers, like entire busses being impounded, literally sawed apart to bits right there, and the entire busload of people being thrown into jail overnight for no reason. He said the PATRIOT act allows them to do whatever they want without justification, and that's what they're doing. He said the Americans don't want visitors anymore, period. They're slowly closing the border to anything but commercial traffic.


poemi: I haven't updated in a really long time.


Just 45 days after the September 11 attacks, with virtually no debate, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. There are significant flaws in the Patriot Act, flaws that threaten your fundamental freedoms by giving the government the power to access to your medical records, tax records, information about the books you buy or borrow without probable cause, and the power to break into your home and conduct secret searches without telling you for weeks, months, or indefinitely.

Some of these flawed provisions are set to expire at the end of the year. But President Bush wants to make them permanent, and the House and Senate have been holding hearings in preparation for votes that are expected in June and July.

Learn more about the flawed provisions in this legislation using the resources below. Find out how you can get involved, and help urge Congress to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution.

American Civil Liberties Union : USA PATRIOT Act

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