Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) along with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Due Process Guarantee Act Monday, a bill to protect Americans from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial.
“Holding U.S. citizens and green card holders indefinitely, without charge or trial, is a clear violation of American values,” Feinstein said. “We made that mistake when we detained Japanese-Americans during World War II and we must never repeat it. We have a court system that is fully capable of trying and convicting terrorism suspects using existing laws. There’s simply no legitimate reason to detain Americans without due process.”
“America should never waver in vigilantly pursuing those who would commit, or plot to commit, acts of treason against our country,” Lee said. “But the federal government should not be allowed to indefinitely imprison any American on the mere accusation of treason without affording them the due process guaranteed by our Constitution. By forbidding the government from detaining Americans without trial absent explicit congressional approval, the Due Process Guarantee Act strikes the right balance between protecting our security and the civil liberties of each citizen.”
In recent years, some have argued that the indefinite detention of Americans is permissible under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The Due Process Guarantee Act clarifies that the 2001 AUMF and other general authorizations cannot be construed as acts of Congress that permit indefinite detention. U.S. citizens captured on foreign soil while fighting for al Qaeda or ISIS, could still be detained.
The bill also expands the Non-Detention Act of 1971 to include green card holders in addition to citizens.