The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Immigration Authority as a Counterterrorism Tool?

Use and Abuse of Immigration Authority as a Counterterrorism Tool: Constitutional and Policy Considerations The Constitution Project has just released this report on the use and abuse of immigration authority as a counterterrorism tool. "In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the government undertook a wide range of immigration-related measures in the name of national security." "This report will focus on several government initiatives that raise particularly troubling constitutional concerns, including preventive detention, secret arrests and trials, ethnic profiling, and deportations for political association or expression. We will recommend reforms designed to avoid a repetition of these abuses. While all of the administration's efforts were undertaken in the name of safeguarding national security, there is little evidence that many of its most controversial measures in fact led to any measurable increase in safety. As the bipartisan 9/11 Commission’s staff found, there is no evidence that the post-September 11 immigration initiatives targeted at Arabs and Muslims succeeded in identifying any actual terrorists. As measures to identify potential terrorist suspects they were overbroad, and, as discussed below, even had they been narrowly tailored, they suffered from additional constitutional flaws. At the same time, by breeding fear and distrust of government within Arab and Muslim immigrant communities, these measures have impeded cooperation from these communities and thereby undermined the very security objectives they were designed to serve."