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March 19, 2003

The so-called Patriot Act
Posted by Teresa at 12:33 PM *

The New Mexico state legislature doesn’t like the Patriot Act. If you think about it a minute, this gets less surprising. New Mexico combines a broad streak of Western “a man’s business is his own” libertarianism—what used to be called conservatism before the werewolves and used-car salesmen shanghaied the term—with a ground-level understanding of how much latitude for harm lurks in laws aimed at immigrants and enforcement aimed at ethnic groups. I’ve been in small towns in New Mexico where English-speakers were few and far in between, and furthermore the Spanish-speaking community had been there a lot longer than the Anglos.

Anyway, their legislators have come up with a resolution denouncing the Patriot Act. After a little preambling and a statement of basic position (“WHEREAS, the house of representatives believes that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty and that Americans can be both safe and free”), followed by a concise description of the Patriot Act’s various abuses and unwarranted expansions of power, and the objectionable consequences and implications thereof, they get to the good bits:
WHEREAS, these new powers pose a particular threat to the civil right and liberties of the residents of New Mexico state who are or who are assumed to be Arab, Muslim or of South Asian descent; and

WHEREAS, other communities throughout the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these values and have demanded accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding their use of these new powers;


A. affirm its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on these rights and liberties;

B. affirm its strong support for the rights of immigrants and oppose measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin;

C. direct the New Mexico state police to:

(1.) refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws;

(2) seek adequate written assurances from federal authorities that residents of the state of New Mexico and individuals in the custody of the state who are placed in federal custody will not be subjected to military or secret detention or secret immigration proceedings without access to counsel and, absent such written assurances, refrain from assisting federal authorities to obtain custody of these individuals;

(3) refrain from engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution, such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion, without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal conduct unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution;

(4) refrain from using race, religion, ethnicity or national origin as a factor in selecting who is subject to investigatory activities unless race, religion, ethnicity or national origin is part of the description of a specific suspect to be apprehended …
And my favorite part:
(9)E. direct public libraries to post in a prominent place within the library a notice as follows: “WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA Patriot act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. This law also prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530”.
For those living in more backward parts of the country, (“Avoiding the Patriot Act since 2001”) has a page of Five Technically Legal Signs for Your Library. For instance:

(watch very closely for the removal of this sign)
(via Ne9ablog)
Comments on The so-called Patriot Act:
#1 ::: Sumana ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 02:41 PM:

I think you've forgotten to close a "center" tag at the end of this entry.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 03:06 PM:

Thanks--already heard it from Dave Trowbridge, and just fixed it.

For some reason, my system doesn't always show me unclosed tags. Next thing I'm hearing my entire weblog is centered, or italicized, or some damnfool thing...

The damnfool thing isn't you or your advice. Both are appreciated. It's my software. More to the point, it's me.

#3 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 04:40 PM:

Sigh. I tried several years ago to convince Jordin we should move to New Mexico when, for perfectly good reasons, I fell in love with Albuquerque. (It has some really good bookstores!) He maintained the airport was insufficient for his needs and refused. Sigh.


#4 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 05:52 PM:

Nice to see Linne9a getting more exposure (is that the right phrasing?).

(And Nea, if you read this, I promise to try to be more active in I}M!)

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 06:37 PM:

I've been seeing a lot of discussion of this on RASFF, and the usual suspects have been tagging anyone the INS suspects as a clear criminal, and my finger keeps hovering over the 'killfile' button...

And it seems that all the the NM legislature wants can be summed up as "due process" and the presumption of innocence.

I think I shall hit that 'killfile' button next time.

BTW, I've also heard some good things about Arizona, in general.

#6 ::: Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2003, 06:59 PM:

Do the Russians still use the KGB title, or is it available now? "Justice Department" has the wrong implications. "Committee for State Security" is a lot clearer about intentions and processes.

#7 ::: Ter ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2003, 11:19 AM:

Thank you for thoughts on New Mexico, along with the legislature update. My only impression of the area is one day of driving across it: "Lovely." Plus the good ice cream and wolf postcards at my rest stop.

Question: Am I missing out on a reference?

...before the werewolves and used-car salesmen shanghaied the term


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