Patriot Acts

Documentary | trt 60 min

Patriot Acts explores the human cost of the Bush Administration's controversial National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS, also know as “Special Registration”). Instituted a year after 9/11, NSEERS facilitated the agenda embodied by the USA PATRIOT Act by requiring non-immigrant males, 16 and older, from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the Department of Homeland Security.

Patriot Acts penetrates into the heart of a predominantly Pakistani and Indian community on Chicago's North Side and tells the stories of two men: Tariq Moti, a dancer detained twice by immigration authorities after 9/11, and Mohammad Tariq, a father who came to the United States in search of medical care for his two blind children. Realizing they were witnessing an historical event firsthand, the filmmakers followed Mr. Moti and Mr. Tariq as the two men navigated a maze of controversial immigration regulations while under the constant threat of arrest, detention, and deportation.

Set in March 2003, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this timely documentary captures the turmoil and confusion of a moment during the U.S. Government's 'war on terror' when basic civil liberties were sacrificed at the altar of a false security. As the deadline date for registration approached, hard choices were made. Not everyone chose to register. Some fled to Canada, some returned to Pakistan and some went underground for fear of being detained and deported. In December 2003, the Department of Homeland Security suspended Special Registration while denying accusations of racial or religious profiling. Ultimately, over 83,000 men from 25 predominantly Muslim countries registered. None were charged as terrorists.

Patriot Acts features Chicago immigration lawyer Christopher Helt, human-rights activist Sister Dorothy Pagosa of the 8th-Day Center for Justice, Pakistani community talk-show host Dr. Mujahid Ghazi and journalist Salman Aftab as well as the Department of Homeland Security community workshop. The soundtrack was created by Funkadesi, Chicago's own internationally acclaimed band.

Screenings | Reviews

Co-produced by BulletProof Film Inc.

Interview with director Sree Nallamothu
(WBEZ Chicago Public Radio
Eight Forty-Eight, with Steve Edwards
Aired March 26, 2004)

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