This Article begins by comparing the concerns of American racial profiling to current terrorism concerns. Part II is an overview of the Bank Secrecy Act and its role in privacy issues concerning bank customers (as the predecessor to the USA Patriot Act). Here, the value of traditional reporting devices, specifically CTRs and SARs used by banks to alert law enforcement to possible terrorist activities, are discussed and evaluated. The facts suggest these reports have been ineffective in identifying terrorists, and have not only greatly infringed upon First Amendment privacy rights, but also diminished the Fourth Amendment protection against warrant-less searches of American bank account holders. Although the Supreme Court has previously ruled on the Constitutionality of these issues, I suggest that they must now reexamine a decision which many always felt was illogical, but has become increasingly so in today's fear-driven environment. Part III explores the policies banks initiated to comply with Patriot Act I, and the possibility that those policies have contributed, to the racial profiling of certain individuals of, or mistaken for, being of Middle Eastern descent. Part IV is an analysis of some of the problems Patriot Act I created. Part V highlights the dangers of The Proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act, also known as Patriot Act I. Part VI discusses the desperate need to pass the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and evaluates whether the changes in bank policy attributed to Patriot Act I and proposed Patriot Act II are essential to the government's ability to strengthen national security and root out terrorists in our midst, even though they compromise the financial privacy Americans expect and believe in. Finally, the Conclusion proposes several solutions to protect American Constitutional liberties, obtain the intelligence necessary to protect us from terrorism, while most importantly beginning the process of repairing the psyche of America.
Cheryl R. Lee,
Constitutional Cash: Are Banks Guilty of Racial Profiling in Implementing the United States Patriot Act?,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol11/iss2/6