NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Left Undercuts Homeland Security Act

January 13, 2003

Learning from the success of the living-wage movement, civil-liberties advocacy groups are now trying to undercut the Homeland Security Act and other federal initiatives to fight terrorism. By forming urban coalitions to pass local bills and resolutions in cities that challenge provisions of the federal terrorism legislation, the groups are using local city councils to advance some of its more far-out notions.

Arguing that federal anti-terrorism efforts erode civil liberties, the advocates are being led nationally by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

  • The groups have already won resolutions or laws in 20 cities, beginning with college-dominated towns like Amherst, Berkeley, and Cambridge.
  • Efforts are under way in 60 more.
  • Some of these laws urge local law enforcement and other city employees not to cooperate with federal agencies investigating terrorism.

These resolutions represent an unprecedented intrusion by uninformed, unsophisticated local legislators into the federal government's responsibility to protect Americans. The local laws are not only a threat to the security of all city-dwellers, but of all Americans.

Thankfully, Washington can fight back, just as some state legislatures have begun fighting municipal living-wage laws by passing legislation that makes it illegal to usurp state wage laws.

Washington has an even bigger stick to wield. The federal government supplies America's cities with billions of dollars in aid each year, including federal resources to fight crime. Washington should demand that cities getting federal aid uphold federal law or risk losing the money.

Source: Steven Malanga, "The Left's Pro-Terror Urban Agenda," New York Post, January 8, 2003.


Browse more articles on Government Issues