For Muslims across the country, surveillance is part of everyday life. From smart street lights focused on San Diego’s mosques to the entrapment of three young Somali men in Minneapolis, the surveillance is ever present. Under President Obama, the U.S. government began the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, inspired by a similar counter-terrorism initiative in the UK called Prevent. More recently, the program has extended beyond the physical and into the digital landscape.
Despite CVE’s record as a civil rights disaster, top presidential candidates are proposing that we continue to fund and expand the program. 2020 presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg have publicly expressed support for the CVE program. Harris’ domestic terrorism plan promises $2 billion over the course of 10 years, while Buttigieg pledged $1 billion. Although both Harris and Buttigieg promote the idea that CVE will be used to counter white supremacist violence, the program has historically focused on the entrapment and surveillance of Muslims.