On Tuesday, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) announced support for the “Breathe Act,” designed to defund local police agencies, scrap ICE and the DEA, ban the use of surveillance and monitoring equipment such as ankle monitors, and a host of other items. Oh and reparations. Don’t forget those. And they’re in the bill twice in two separate sections. It also aims to drastically reduce the Defense Department Budget. (Philadelphia Inquirer). The bill has not been formally introduced, according to Fox.
Throwing the baby out with the bath water
Some of the elements of the Breathe Act are:
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❖ Eliminate Federal programs and agencies used to finance and expand the U.S. criminal-legal system, such as the Department of Defense 1033 program, the Edward Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program, Community Oriented Policing Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The bill would ensure that non-punitive, non-carceral elements of these programs are identified so that they can be transferred to another funding source.
❖ Make recommendations to dramatically reduce the Department of Defense budget.
The 1033 program sends leftover military equipment to local police departments. They plan a program to collect and destroy all military grade equipment including vehicles and weapons under the “Neighborhood Demilitarization Program.” Their intent seems to be dismantling the entire criminal justice system and replacing it with social programs. And make it extremely difficult for the military to function.
Eliminating surveillance tactics that are disproportionately used to target Black, Brown, and Muslim communities by prohibiting
predictive policing, facial recognition technologies, drones, and similar tools;
➢ Eliminating the use oÿ electronic monitoring, including ankle monitors, smartphone applications, and any other tool used to tracklocation;
➢ Ending civil asset forfeiture;
➢ Abolishing mandatory minimum sentencing laws;
➢ Ending life sentences;
➢ Abolishing the “three strikes” law;
➢ Developing a time-bound plan to close all federal prisons and immigration detention centers;
➢ Repealing federal laws that criminalize human movement and border entry;
➢ Further repealing and replacing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act with non-carceral, non-punitive investments incommunities; and
➢ Decriminalizing and retroactively expunging drug offenses…
…Require Congress to acknowledge and address the lasting harms that it has caused, specifically through: Passing H.R.40 (“Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act”); and
➢ Establishing commissions that design reparations for mass criminalization—including the War on Drugs, the criminalization of prostitution, and police violence; border violence; and the systemic violation of the U.S. Government’s treaty obligations to Tribal nations.
(Note: HR 40 already has 135 Democrat sponsors, and was introduced by Sheila Jackson Lee D-Tx). The bill also addresses the need for food choices, clean water and air. They advocate for education that talks about genocide and how evil the United States is at its core. We already have such disasters, but this bill would codify it. They want to shut down all “gang databases.” They want to shut down all prisons. They want open borders. They don’t want any incarceral punishment for offenders at all.
The Breathe Act is a project of Movement For Black Lives’ 501(c)4 Electoral Justice Project, which is a coalition of 150 Black Lives Matter groups.
So where will these folks put serial killers and other murderers? Rapists? Terrorists? Let social workers handle them? Will this bill pass? We sincerely hope not. There has to be some common sense left somewhere in the halls of Congress.
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