Passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., the Patriot Act significantly expanded the ability of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to investigate immigrants with terrorist ties by giving the USCIS greater access to intelligence information regarding terrorist suspects. The act also made it more difficult for non-U.S. citizens to gain citizenship, visas, permanent residency, and work permits.
Prior to the passage of the Patriot Act, the
The September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and
The Patriot Act greatly expanded the ability of border control and immigration agencies to determine who entered the United States and allowed these agencies to locate immigrants with terrorist ties who were already within the United States. The act amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide the
The Patriot Act provided monetary support to triple the number of security personnel on the U.S.-Canada border (since most of the border security was previously centered on the border with Mexico). The act called for investigation of the feasibility of enacting an automated fingerprint identification system to be used at posts abroad and in ports of entry to the United States. Also, any immigrant who was suspected of being a terrorist could be detained for up to six months if the release of the suspect could pose a threat to U.S. national security. The act also called for expediting the integrated entry and exit data system in the
The Patriot Act is one of the most controversial U.S. laws in recent history. Some of its provisions have been challenged for their constitutionality. Certain programs, such as biometric identification, have been met with significant resistance from civil rights groups and members of Congress. Many civil rights organizations are critical of Congress’s supposed failure to fully debate and explore all the nuances of the Patriot Act before approving it.
Baker, Stewart A., and John Kavanagh, eds. Patriot Debates: Experts Debate the USA Patriot Act. Chicago: American Bar Association, 2005. Series of scholarly essays largely relating to provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire in 2005. Includes essays on border security and detention. Etzioni, Amitai. How Patriotic Is the Patriot Act? Freedom Versus Security in the Age of Terrorism. New York: Routledge, 2004. Provides an overview of the security measures of the Patriot Act and contains information surrounding the debate on tracking immigrants. Ewing, Alphonse B. The USA Patriot Act. New York: Novinka Books, 2002. Contains a legal analysis of the Patriot Act as well as an accessible overview of the act. Foerstel, Herbert N. The Patriot Act: A Documentary and Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008. Primary source collection with analysis following each document. LeMay, Michael C. Illegal Immigration: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2007. Accessible overview of the debates surrounding illegal immigration. Wong, Kam C. The Impact of USA Patriot Act on American Society: An Evidence Based Assessment. New York: Nova Science, 2007. Discussion of the effects of the Patriot Act on immigrant students, universities, and American society.
Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001
Border Patrol, U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S.
Homeland Security, Department of
9/11 and U.S. immigration policy
Permanent resident status