Muslim Advocates to Senate: Reject Patriot Act 2.0 This Week

Washington, D.C. — This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would drastically expand state surveillance powers in the single-largest expansion since the Patriot Act. 

The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), H.R.7888, includes a provision that would give the federal government unprecedented powers by allowing it to secretly force Americans and businesses of any size—including janitors and maids, security guards and landlords—to engage in warrantless spying on the government’s behalf, including providing direct access to communications networks without court review.

Additionally, an anti-immigrant provision in RISAA would unnecessarily create extreme vetting procedures targeting millions of immigrant residents, families, employers, students and community members in the U.S. and abroad for suspicionless searches. More specifically, it could allow immigration authorities to warrantlessly collect and spy on immigrants’ communications—even those who already have status in the U.S. like those with student or work visas, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Temporary Protective Status—and their families in the U.S. every time they seek travel authorization or arrive at a U.S. port of entry. This provision is all but guaranteed to target Muslim, Black and brown communities, who are already disproportionately affected by the administration’s family separation, arbitrary detention, discriminatory prosecution and deportation policies at the border.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has historically been used to target and criminalize Black, Muslim, Arab and other racialized peoples in the U.S. Muslim Advocates with Muslims for Just Futures and more than 100 movement and civil rights groups recently sent a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer asking him to rein in warrantless surveillance, and reject anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism being deployed by members of Congress to justify maintaining Section 702. Muslim Advocates is also part of the bipartisan FISA Reform Coalition, which has advocated for reforms to close the backdoor search and data broker loopholes in order to protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.

Below are statements issued by Muslim Advocates and Just Futures Law:

“This extreme anti-immigrant provision would weaponize the powerful spy tools of the NSA against immigrants, American families, and businesses. If passed, this language is a political endorsement from Congress for DHS to use the NSA’s surveillance powers to go after immigrants and their American communities. It could vastly increase the number of visas and other immigration applications denied on secretive grounds, permanently separating U.S. families. We should all be concerned about how this vetting program could be abused in the future to ramp up family separation and deportations–in addition to spying on American communities,” said Julie Mao, Deputy Director at Just Futures Law.

“Our communities are experiencing whiplash. This bill is a stab in the back to communities of color, immigrants, Muslims and allies on both sides of the aisle who have fought vigorously for years to rein in rampant abuses by the executive branch and its surveillance state. Instead, we are seeing the Biden administration and congressional leaders double down on racist profiling to justify turning every coffee shop and apartment complex in America into secret spies and subjecting immigrant communities to even more invasive surveillance, all while refusing to hold the government accountable to the Constitution. This is a terrifying, dire threat to our democracy,” said Sumayyah Waheed, senior policy counsel at Muslim Advocates.


Muslim Advocates is a national social-justice, legal-advocacy, and educational organization that works with and for Muslim and other historically marginalized communities to build community power, fight systemic oppression, and demand shared well-being.