Dec 10, 2020 in Analysis

How National Security and Civil Rights

The terror attack on the morning of September 11th, 2001 was a defining moment for a generation in America and the world at large. The decade that followed saw a significant change in the government and a direct impact on the social and economic lives of millions of American citizens and immigrants. Neither according to a nationally represented survey that involved over 1000 Americans by the AP-NOR center, did the report survey a public opinion in regards to how the human rights and national security policies were handled after 9/11 attack.

Shortly after the September 2001 attack, the government instituted stringent measures to protect and enhance security within the bounders of the United States. These measures included invading the privacy of private citizens in the efforts to unearth uncouth activities that could be related to pre and post terror events. Gaskew collected a revelation of secretly recorded phone records and also access to millions of internet activities of Americans. The changes instituted with these laws did not only affect the freedoms of civil rights movement but also made the Muslims from Middle and South East Asia a subject of suspicion in the United States. In 2005, President George Bush allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to undertake a one on one monitoring activity of individual calls and emails without seeking authorization from any other power. This statement stirred intense debate on the concerns of civil liberties especially among the opposition. From 2006 up to the time elections were being held, the level of public support to national security policies dropped gradually.

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Earlier in the decade, in response to the attack the government embarked on an aggressive mission to address the issues of immigration. It began an aggressive campaign of enforcing immigration rules targeting Muslims, Arabs and immigrants from South East Asia in particular. Instead of first seeking to identify the terrorists, the federal government initiated very strict laws whose actions were against the whole Islamic community hoping to catch some of those perpetrators of the dreadful attack and other related suspects. Of all the policies The Special Registration was the one which had the most serious effect on the target communities. According to the interviews cons-ducted with attorneys, registrants and members of the target communities, the widespread deportation, and heightened scrutiny resulted to a widespread stress, fear and alienation of the American Muslims, Arabs and south Asian immigrants.

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Special Registration

During the period under which the Special Registration was underway, any confusion or presentation of misinformation resulted to an outright deportation. The rules and deadlines of the process were very strict, complex, confusing and publicized poorly. The NSEERS which was the body assigned the mandate of executing the program had provided a variety of opportunities where people cold unintentionally violate the law and thus become subjects of instant deportation. The confusions were caused by missing, incorrect or incomplete information presented by the immigration officials at the registration desks. And although an interim rule in December 2003 lifted some of the NSEERS requirements that were widely misreported, the rules remained in effect for the larger part of the decade.

Target Members of Particular Communities

The intense interviews conducted to the some community groups by the National Security Agencies created a widespread view to the Muslims and Asians that the federal government was applying the immigration laws in a discriminative and selective manner. Not only did the agency single out particular individuals from the majority Muslim countries but also denied the individuals avenues to avoid possible deportations that were commonly granted to people from other nations. Contrary to the common perception more non-Arabs were affected by these regulations particularly those from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Social and Economic Impacts

Various groups in America reported that deportations and detentions of husbands and fathers divided the families and deprived them of their basic source of income. In particular cases, American children whose fathers were subjected to deportation or detention pulled out of school and transferred to countries where they would be deemed accepted. This problem particularly affected individuals from Pakistani, Egypt and Bangladesh. The rules also applied to teenage boys above the age of 16 years. These kids were often subject to deportation than adults since they were deemed to be a soft target for terrorists than grown up adults. It was suggested that extremism which was the core competence of terrorism was introduced to individuals in their teens.

Civil Rights Division in Post 9/11 Era

There were various challenges that were witnessed during the ten years period following the September 2001 attack in The United States. Although the situation has changed with time, a number of hate crimes and discriminative practices were very often in the aftermath of the attack. However, these events were an open indication that these civil rights issues could have a very strong implication to the communities affected in the coming years and the government and all bodies concerned should be very aggressive in addressing them.

According to the US commission on civil rights report there were testimonies of scholars an experts indicate that the discrimination problem and abuse of civil rights was very rampant to target communities. The commission was instituted in order to examine the federal governments efforts to prevent and eliminate violations of civil rights through incidents such as hate crimes, stereotypes and bias as well as travel discriminations against the Muslim Americans and Arabs in reaction to the September 2001 attack. The commission found that while the US government have taken important steps in working with American-Muslim communities, most of them still feels that the violation of their civil rights through profiling, stereotyping and other discriminative activates still exist. The exixtemce of ethnic, racial and religious gaps within the American society has led to the widening gap that singles out Arabs and American Muslims from others when clearing with the Customs and Border Patrol agencies and the FBI. Thus, even the innocent ones among the communities become subject to harassment and taken through illegal checks in the custom offices.

In the last ten years, there has been a rise of the anti-Muslim sentiments, discriminations and policies that have an unfair impact on American Muslim. For example, the government security agencies have placed more Muslims on the government secret watch list thus violating their rights to privacy. The security agencys training materials provided by the federal government have more often misled the American public by presenting a uniformed view that all Muslim community are members of a particular terror gangs and should be handled with caution.

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Conclusion

These activities have often raised questions about the public willingness to help the government in fighting this global threat at the expense of their civil liberty. Since 2001, Americans have increasingly reported to value protection from terror more than civil rights but they also express concerns over the governments efforts to overreach and intrude on their individual privacy. Thus there has been a believe that understanding these differences would help identify possible intervention measures that can be taken to improve the efforts and the endeavor of the federal government in fighting negative ethnicity and supporting humanity and civil rights.

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