Thank you for contacting me about your concerns about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, H.R. 1955. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me on this legislation, and value this opportunity to respond.
As you know, H.R. 1955 was introduced by Representative Jane Harman of California on April 19, 2007. This legislation would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a grant program to thwart radicalization, ideologically-motivated violence, and homegrown terrorism within our nation, create a Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the academic sector, and require an international survey of foreign nations' methodologies for the prevention of radicalization and terrorism within their countries. Further, this legislation specifically prohibits the violation of constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties in the effort to combat domestic terrorism or radical violence.
The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 404-6 on October 23, 2007. It is currently pending before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where it awaits further action.
I understand your concerns about civil liberties, and like you, I place a very high premium on the Constitution's protections for Americans' civil rights and liberties. However, I do not agree that this legislation presents a threat to those basic freedoms. The bill establishes a governmental commission, an academic research center, and other initiatives to study violent radicalization and means to prevent it, both within the United States as well as abroad. However, it does not go so far as to infringe upon the rights of individuals. H.R. 1955 also creates robust auditing and oversight mechanisms to ensure the protection of civil rights and civil liberties. Please be assured thought that should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law, I will follow its implementation to be sure it is effective and will keep your comments in mind.
Again, I want to thank you for contacting me on this important matter. If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress