CAIR Seeks Support for Bill Barring Military Detentions
January 9, 2012
In The News
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Muslims and other people of conscience to ask their elected representatives to support the Due Process Guarantee Act, which would bar the military from detaining U.S. citizens without charge or trial. The act reaffirms that American citizens suspected of terrorism and arrested inside the United States cannot be indefinitely detained by the U.S. military as is authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Obama recently signed into law. When signing the legislation at the end of December, the president said: "I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation." However, legal experts say the president's signing statement has no legal standing and does not provide any assurance that future administrations will act in a similar manner. CAIR believes that the Due Process Guarantee Act -- sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) -- represents a first step in repairing the damage done to the U.S. Constitution by stating explicitly that the government cannot indefinitely detain American citizens or lawful residents inside the United States without charge or trial. "We must clarify U.S. law to state unequivocally that the government cannot indefinitely detain American citizens inside this country without trial or charge. I strongly believe that Constitutional due process requires U.S. citizens apprehended in the U.S. should never be held in indefinite detention. And that is what this new legislation would accomplish," said Sen. Feinstein. "We need to act now and demonstrate to Congress and the president that the American people reject any form of indefinite detention and demand the return of their Fifth Amendment right to due process," said CAIR Government Affairs Coordinator Robert McCaw. "While this legislation does not extend to protecting the rights of American citizens detained overseas or prevent the military from performing domestic law enforcement functions, we remain optimistic that it can be amended in the coming months to address these deeply-troubling and unconstitutional realities." CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.