New domestic terror laws will harm minority communities, ACLU says

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

Law enforcement would likely target minority communities if Congress increases police powers and implements new domestic terror laws in response to the Capitol riot, the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday.

The organization sent a statement opposing the creation of a new domestic terrorism statute ahead of a congressional hearing on “The Rise of Domestic Terrorism in America” scheduled for Wednesday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Congress should increase accountability among the agencies responsible for responding to white supremacism and violence.

“Under current domestic terrorism authorities, law enforcement has a vast array of authorities, from investigation through prosecution, to address white supremacist violence effectively,” according to the statement. “To enhance the safety of all communities, Congress should hold law enforcement agencies accountable for their failure to meaningfully focus on increasing levels of white supremacist violence and ascertain the reasons for that failure.”

Over 50 statutes dealing with domestic terrorism and material support of domestic terrorists are already in place, according to the ACLU. Law enforcement officials already abuse existing statutes when policing minority communities and people participating in activities protected by the First Amendment.

“Federal law enforcement has used domestic terrorism authorities to wrongly target marginalized populations—Black civil rights activists, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities, animal rights and environmental rights activists, or other groups the government views as having “unpopular” or controversial beliefs,” according to the statement.

Law enforcement officials unfairly target minorities for surveillance, investigation and prosecution through current domestic terror laws, according to the ACLU. New laws would only harm minority communities further through over-policing and would not actually address the issues associated with white supremacist violence.

“Congress should hold government agencies accountable for the lack of focus on white supremacist violence. This accountability begins with requiring agencies to provide meaningful data on their failure to use resources and prioritize efforts to address white supremacist violence,” according to the statement.

Expanding domestic terror laws “will result in more injury” to minority communities and will hinder First Amendment rights, equal treatment and due process “of all people,” according to the ACLU.

The ACLU did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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