Letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the "America After 9/11: Freedom Preserved or Freedom Lost" committee hearing

November 17, 2003

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the Episcopal Church, I am writing to you as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary regarding the hearing to be held on November 18 entitled America After 9/11: Freedom Preserved or Freedom Lost. We are grateful for this opportunity to address this important issue. While fully recognizing the challenges the nation faced after September 11, 2001 we believe that certain government policies are hurting rather than helping our nation and our world to live in peace with each other and our neighbors.


Specifically, we are concerned about the following:



  • Decline since September 11 in refugees admitted to the United States as that reflects a significant retreat from our nation's historic commitment to protect persecuted persons.
  • Emerging policies and practices of our government that infringe upon the rights of immigrants who are members of certain religious and national groups.
  • Curtailment of the civil rights of ethnic and religious minorities that threaten our nation’s revered and fundamental respect for civil liberties

It is our hope that this and other relevant committees will hold hearings in which the full ramifications of the Patriot Act will be explored. The legislation was passed with minimal deliberation, making it even more imperative that its consequences – both intended and unintended – be fully explored.


Legislation responding to the tragic events of September 11th has clearly created a climate of fear, mistrust, suspicion and alienation. In this climate freedom has been “lost” rather than “preserved.”


Sincerely,


Maureen Shea
Director


John Johnson
Domestic Policy Analyst