WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) and Martin Heinrich (D-Albuquerque, NM), members of the House Armed Services Committee, today introduced H.R. 3702, the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011. The bill clarifies U.S. law by amending the Non-Detention Act of 1971 to ensure that within the United States, U.S. citizens and permanent residents cannot be detained indefinitely without trial. It is companion legislation to Senator Dianne Feinstein's Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011.
"Every American deserves their day in court, and this legislation changes existing law to protect our due process rights," Congressman Garamendi said. "We cannot allow our basic rights to be lost, and there is no legitimate national security reason to deny any citizen in America a trial. We can both keep America safe and maintain our liberties."
"Detainee provisions included in this year's Defense Authorization and retained in the final Conference Report do not strengthen our national security and are at complete odds with the United States Constitution," said Rep. Heinrich. "It is time we restore the proper balance between individual liberties and national security."
Section 1021 (formerly Section 1031 of S. 1867) of the just passed 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.