Subject: Chicago City Council Passes Resolution Condemning PATRIOT Act
Date: Sat Oct 4, 2003 2:10 am
Chicago City Council Passes Resolution Condemning PATRIOT Act.
Now totaling over 400 Cities and Counties and Alaska, Hawaii. New Mexico
& Vermont. With Resolutions Against the Patriot Act !
Elaine Cassel: Chicago Condemns Patriot Act
October 2, 2003
Chicago Condemns Patriot Act
By ELAINE CASSEL
On October 1, the Chicago City Counsel voted to pass a resolution
condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, becoming the largest city in the United
States to show its contempt for the Ashcroft-Congress brand of
As reported by attorney Noah Leavitt, with Chicago's Jewish Counsel on
Urban Affairs, Aldermen Helen Shiller (Ward 46), Joe Moore (Ward 49),
Freddrenna Lyle (Ward 6) and Ricardo Munoz (Ward 22)
Introduced a resolution to the City Council supporting Chicago's
immigrant population and condemning the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act.
The resolution "reaffirms the rights of all people living within the
City under the U.S. Constitution and calls for the City to work for the
repeal of the Act and associated Executive Orders which violate our
fundamental rights and liberties. City Council passed the resolution at
this morning's meeting."
Chicago Arabs and Jews, represented by the Jewish Counsel on Urban
Affairs (JCUA) and the Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC), worked
together to get the resolution passed. Said Rasheed Ahmed, President of
the MCRC, "This is a huge victory for all people who care about civil
rights. As Muslims, we feel the sting of suspicion and the fear of a
knock on our doors. The practice of guilt by association, perpetrated
against American Muslim and Arab-American communities, undermines the
fundamental meaning of the Bill of Rights and sets the legal precedence
for the same fate for all Americans. The nefarious USA PATRIOT Act is
leading to the creation of a second tier justice system that could be
used against any American for political purposes and weakens the fabric
of our democratic society."
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs,
shared these. "We at JCUA are proud to be counted on the side of people
who have spoken out against this violation of our fundamental rights. As
Jews, who are so familiar with the immigrant experience and the
unfortunate suspicions placed upon 'outsiders,' we understand the need
to protect those who are not yet citizens. We also recognize that the
PATRIOT Act threatens the Constitutional rights and freedoms of all of
America's residents - citizens and non-citizens alike. Today's PATRIOT
Act is reminiscent of other infringements on civil liberties in
America's history such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during
World War II and the Red hunts of the McCarthy period in the 1950s."
The USA PATRIOT Act compromises the civil liberties of all Americans,
but particularly affects Muslim and Arab-American communities. In
Chicago, large numbers of immigrant workers have been arrested on
numerous occasions, including in raids at O'Hare and Midway airports as
well as the Sears Tower. These raids have led to the detention and
deportation of many Latino immigrant airport workers.
A joint statement released by JCUA and MCRC indicates that violence
against Arabs in Chicago increased from four in the year 2000 to 60 in
the year 2001 to 124 last year. The PATRIOT Act, it reasons, poisons
Chicago by creating a climate of xenophobia, distrust, and paranoia. It
alienates the very communities that could provide crucial assistance to
our national security and law enforcement bodies.
Because of the PATRIOT Act's broad scope and its many negative effects,
communities across the country are joining together to voice their
opposition. Three states and more than 160 municipalities from 28 states
--approximately 20 million people-- have passed resolutions criticizing
the Act. Similar efforts are underway across the country.
Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia,
teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime's dismantling
of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at:
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