The Internal Security Act of 1950, also known as McCarran-Walter (or simply the McCarran) Act or the anticommunist law, is still on the books with potentially grave consequences for you and me as it compromises U.S. national and individual liberties to the extreme. The Internal Security Act, named for Nevada’s Democrat (yes, Democrat) Senator Pat McCarran, allows for the fingerprinting and registration of all those who are broadly called “subversives” at large in the United States. Its most significant provision provides the authorization of opening and detaining individuals (citizens and non citizens) in concentration camps “for emergency situations” as evidenced by the typographic sign below. And don’t even try to make “graphic representations.”
The Act tightened alien exclusion and deportation laws and allowed for the detention of dangerous, disloyal, or subversive persons in times of war or “internal security emergency”. The Act also made picketing a federal courthouse a felony if intended to obstruct the court system or influence jurors or other trial participants.
President Harry Truman vetoed the Act on September 22, 1950, and sent Congress a lengthy veto message in which he criticized specific provisions as “the greatest danger to freedom of speech, press, and assembly since the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798,” a “mockery of the Bill of Rights” and a “long step toward totalitarianism.” Congress overrode the veto.
Yes, it can happen here.