In fighting terrorism, what risk do we take with limiting the civil rights of suspected Americans and legal immigrants?(ie. the ability of FBI, etc. to tap phones and internet use, pull up library...

In fighting terrorism, what risk do we take with limiting the civil rights of suspected Americans and legal immigrants?

(ie. the ability of FBI, etc. to tap phones and internet use, pull up library records, arrest without charges, hold without trial, etc.)terrorism

Expert Answers
lfawley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the biggest argument against such actions, and the Patriot Act would be included in this as well as the argument for torture warrants, is the fact that it is essentially legalizing actions that are in direct violation of the Bill of Rights and it takes us down a slippery slope toward becoming a police state (as has already been mentioned). The Bill of Rights exists to protect the rights of all citizens. Holding someone without trial, for instance, is a prime example of a violation of the 5th amendment right to due process. When we violate those rights without due process, we negate the very purpose for their existence. We become, in essence, that which we have worked hard to not become.

As to immigrants and foreign visitors entering this country, there is clearly a need for caution, but there must still also be a reasonable expectation of human rights and among those rights is the right to not be unjustly imprisoned or to have privacy rights violated out of nothing more than unfounded suspicion.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous thoughts were completely strong.  I would echo the idea that the paradigm that suggests national security and preservation of ideals are mutually exclusive.  Given the wounded psyche of the nation after the September 11 attacks, there was a belief that this paradigm was valid.  However, there is little to indicate that we, as a nation, are safer by suspecting everyone or anyone.  Such a paradigm undermines not only our aspirations and ideals, but also delegitimizes our law enforcement agencies in making the assumption that the only way their job can be done is by eliminating all rights.   Our law enforcement agencies and their agents are able to gather intelligence, pursue leads, and ensure that public safety is present through Constitutional and appropriate measures that not only enhance rights but keep individuals safe.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many ways to answer the question. If we limit civil liberties of people, then we need to ask where do we draw the line? In other words, if you give an inch, then the state may take more and more. In time, there may be nothing called privacy. "Big brother" will always be watching. In addition, to single out a group can easily turn into racism, which can be argued is dangerous to all groups. Finally, think of it from the perspective of those who are being harassed. There is a good argument that states that this kind of treatment may cause more terrorism. Bitterness and anger are real things that may manifest in dangerous ways.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main risk we take if we do this is that we risk becoming a police state.  If we allow the law enforcement authorities to do whatever is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, we risk giving them the power to monitor all aspects of our lives at all times.  At that point, would we still be America?

When it comes to monitoring immigrants, we risk making them hate America.  If Muslim immigrants, for example, feel like they are being singled out, they might become bitter and more of them may come to be willing to carry out terrorist attacks within the US.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The risk we take is that we will lose the ideals that make us unique, and this will send us down fhe slippery slope. Take away one group's rights and before long they're after yours. It is very easy to slowly give up rights until we don't have any left. That is the risk in limiting civil rights.
findoutthetruth | Student

These days are truely terrifying, we must join together and stop this tyranic state from occuring. Find out more about the police state at Take action, tell your neighbors, even the ones you don't like, tell everyone, this needs to be heard. We need to act now before it is too late!