PATRIOT Games: Common Myths About the USA PATRIOT Act

October 1, 2003

Mary Beth Buchanan

MYTH: Thousands of people were rounded up after September 11, 2001 and detained for long periods of time without any criminal charges. As the Director of Public Affairs of the Department of Justice recently explained: “[A]bout 750 foreign nationals” were detained. “Thousands” would imply two or three thousand for which there is no basis in fact. All were in the country illegally, and all were charged with immigration and/or criminal charges. In addition, most of them — approximately 500 to date — have been deported, not “let go” or “released.” That an alien was deported rather than prosecuted does not mean that the alien had no knowledge of or connection to terrorism. In many cases, the best course of action to protect national security may have been to remove potentially dangerous individuals from the country and ensure that they could not return.”

Patriot Games: Common Myths About the USA Patriot Act