America Transforms After 9/11

Major Post 9/11 Events

National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTC_fire9/11/2001–The World Trade Center Falls.. This caused the Immigration system to change in five different ways:

  • After 9/11 President Bush and his administration tried to see immigration as a way to fight terrorism. Bush passed the National Security Act and increased funding to review immigration policies.
  • Increased funding for deportations.
  • Removed criminals—even the ones the United States was not worried about.
  • Turned local police officers into immigration agents Shared fingerprints of arrestees with Homeland Security.
  • Tied immigration enforcement to corporate profits.—growth in private prisons.

It is worth noting that the 9/11 terrorists entered the country on temporary visa’s and had authorization they fraudently obtained to be in the United States. In the fifteen years since the attack we’ve devoted enormous resources to securing the southern border and deporting non-criminal immigrants. The leading countries of origin for people removed from the United States since 2001 are Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Security Changes

The decade after the 9/11/2001 attacks reshaped many facets of life in America. Some changes were temporary—an immediate response out of concern for our safety—while some proved to me more lasting transformations in American life.

The American language was one of the things that changed drastically in the months and years after the attack.  Among the words or phrases (Including 9/11) that entered every day language was: al—Quaida, Taliban, ground zero, radicalism, extremism, anthrax, and the Axis of Evil. Their usage dramatically increase and became part of our language.

Other changes were immediate and obvious as with Air Travel:

Two months after the attacks, Congress federalized airport security by passing the Aviation and Transportation Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration. Prior to 9/1l, security had been handled by each individual airport, which outsourced to private security companies.

2000px-US-TransportationSecurityAdmin-DOTSeal.svgThe new TSA implemented procedures that included stricter guidelines on passenger and luggage screening. Only ticketed passengers could go through security, and an ever changing array  of machinery and procedures were introduced to scan for weapons and other harmful items including liquids. Shoes and jackets were removed prior to a passenger being scanned.

Airplanes also had major overhauls.  Fortified cockpit doors were introduced, and first-class cabins were dropped by some airlines. Pilots could apply to become a federal flight-deck officer which allowed them to carry a loaded gun and act as a federal officer aboard the plane.

In order to offset the security costs, a September 11th fee was tacked onto passenger tickets, with the TSA collecting  nearly $20 billion in almost twenty years.

  • All luggage both carry-on and checked must be examined and screened by TSA agents.
  • No liquids above 3-4 ounces allowed through checkpoints.
  • Special items (laptops, etc.) must be pulled from luggage.
  • Jackets and shoes must be removed at checkpoints.
  • Body-scan machine screening enforced
  • Enhanced pat-downs particularly among ethnic passengers.
  • No more non-ticketed visitors allowed at airline gates.

Government Changes

Although, the Patriot Act may be the most recognizable piece of legislation after September 11, 2001, there were more than 130 pieces of legislation introduced in the 107th Congress the year after the attack, and forty-eight were passed into law. They included the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, the Enhanced Border Act, and the Visa Entry Reform Act, which included immigration reform.Read more about Post 9/11 Legislation here.

The View on American-Muslims

Anti-Islamic violence violence in America jumped after the 9’11 attacks according to the FBI.  In 2004, 481 hate crimes against Muslims were reported.

Ongoing Wars

Less than a month after 9/11. United States troops invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to defeat al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that  claimed responsibility for the attacks, and remove the Taliban government. Two year later, in March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, and deposed President Saddam Hussein. Although, Hussein was not directly linked to the terror attacks he was suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction. No weapons were found. However, the invasion of Iraq was a keypont of America’s war on terror under the direction of President George Bush.

Our military involvement in Afghanistan turned into the longest running war in United States history. Although, formal combat operations ended in 2014. The United States troops still remain firmly entrenched there in an effort to stop the Taliban.

Immigration and Deportation

A cabinet level office, The Department of Homeland Security was founded by citizenshipPresident Bush in 2002. This agency has seen a massive increase in deportations which have tripled since 9/11. In the first two years of the Obama administration, deportations hit a record high of 400,000 annually. Over half of those deported in 2010 and 2011 were convicted of an offense for low-level, non-violent crime.

Mexican nationals have been disproportionately impacted in 2013 and 2014. Over 48,000 aliens were deported back to Mexico each year usually from California, their primary destination. Less than a quarter of them were considered violent or dangerous.

The Friendly Skies

Long airport lines, full-body scans, the pat-down, it’s all par for the course. Before the advent of color-coded security threat warnings, pat-downs were not common, liquid was allowed,  and box-cutters were allowed on the plane itself, as were four-inch knives, and cigarette lighters. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, airport security was overhauled with security checkpoints and machine-imaging at every airport. Additionally, the TSA is authorized to use watch lists of individuals to check for supposed terrorists.

The NSA/Freedom Act

Reformed the authorities of the Federal government to require the production of certain business records conduct electronic surveillance, use pen registers, and trap and trace devices, and use other forms of information gathering for foreign intelligence, counter-terrorism, criminal purposes and other purposes.

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes. More than twenty bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of clarifying government surveillance power.

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT ACT, wanted to give more power to  United States Intelligence Agencies. He declared that it was time to put the NSA out of business. Sensenbrenner stated that the “intelligence community” had misused their powers and had gone far beyond the original intent of the legislation and overstepped its authority. Click here to read about the Ins and Outs of the 2015 USA Freedom Act.

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