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Stop Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

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Guest LAW

A bill that would clarify existing law to protect the due process rights of American citizens and lawful residents is picking up momentum in the New Year. The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, H.R. 3702, authored by Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) and Martin Heinrich (D-Albuquerque, NM), has been co-sponsored by 33 members of Congress, including the ranking members of the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary committees. H.R. 3702 is companion legislation to Senator Dianne Feinstein's Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011.

 

"We must clarify existing law to guarantee the due process rights of every American. It is a foundational principle of our great nation that we are all innocent until proven guilty and that we all deserve a fair trial," Congressman Garamendi said.

 

"The Due Process Guarantee Act is picking up momentum because this isn't about Democrats or Republicans; it's about what makes us Americans," Garamendi added. "We have the privilege of living in a free society. Let's keep it that way. I implore my Republican colleagues to let this important legislation come up for a vote."

 

Section 1021 (formerly Section 1031 of S. 1867) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report would authorize the indefinite military detention of suspected terrorists without explicitly protecting U.S. citizens' rights. Under this new law, individual American citizens suspected of terrorism may be detained under the laws of war and held indefinitely "until the end of hostilities." The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 ensures that U.S. citizens and permanent residents on American soil are protected from this provision.

 

The bill clarifies existing U.S. law and states unequivocally that the government cannot indefinitely detain American citizens or lawful U.S. residents. The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 became necessary due to ambiguous language in the National Defense Authorization Act.

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