Reinstate Provision to Ban Indefinite Detention of American Citizens Without Trial

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Target: Members of the United States Congress

Goal: Reinstate the ban that prevents military from detaining American citizens and permanent residents indefinitely without trial.

Recently, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mike Lee sponsored a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act that would ban the military from detaining American citizens and permanent residents indefinitely without trial. This provision upholds Americans’ civil liberties under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the right to due process. However, the lawmakers who are in charge of merging the two defense acts of the House and the Senate have dropped this protective provision.

According to the Constitution, Americans have a right to due process, meaning that a person must be guaranteed a fair and speedy trial, counsel, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, a trial by a jury of peers, and an appearance before one’s accusers. In addition, Americans are protected by habeas corpus, which allows an individual to call for an investigation of the legality of his or her own imprisonment. Essentially, these protections exist to ensure that people receive fair treatment even if they are accused of a crime. By dropping the proposed ban from the bill, Congress has failed to safeguard these Constitutional rights. If these rights did not exist, an individual could be thrown in jail for an infinite amount of time without a trial or any ability to question his imprisonment.

At a time when terrorism is constantly a focus of the government and media, further protection of these vital American rights is especially necessary. The fear of terrorism is easily stoked and even capitalized upon, increasing the potential for those in power to more easily imprison people ‘suspected’ of terrorism in the U.S. without a trial. Tell Congress to protect our Constitutional rights by reinstating the provision to ban the military from detaining American citizens and permanent residents indefinitely without trial.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of Congress,

It is your duty as legislators to create laws that uphold our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Recently, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mike Lee have carried out this duty by sponsoring a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act that would ban the military from detaining American citizens and permanent residents indefinitely without trial. Unfortunately, this provision has been eliminated in the process of merging the two versions of the Defense Act by the House and the Senate.

According to the Constitution, American citizens have a right to due process and are protected under the habeas corpus clause. The proposed ban would have further safeguarded these rights. It is unclear as to why Congress would decide not to bolster the protection for a foundational aspect of our Constitution, especially in these uncertain times of war and fear of terrorism.

As citizens it is our duty to hold our elected officials accountable. We demand that you fulfill your responsibility of creating laws that protect our Constitutional rights by reinstating the provision to ban the military from detaining American citizens and permanent residents indefinitely without trial.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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71 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
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