USA: We find the defendant NOT guilty. Now lock him up!

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr

Is this America or the Twilight Zone? According to Amnesty International’s new report, President Obama’s new rules for military commissions at Guantanamo allow for a defendant who is found NOT guilty to be locked up. Potentially forever.

It could happen to Omar Khadr. He will be the first person tried under President Obama’s military commissions, and his pre-trial hearings started this week.  Khadr is a Canadian national who has been held in US custody for nearly 8 years, since he was 15 years old. He has said he was repeatedly tortured in U.S. custody.

His military commission is set up such that it will not meet international standards for fairness. And, even if he is found not guilty after his unfair trial, he can still be held indefinitely.

The new military commissions rule book notes that indefinite detention after acquittal by military commission “may be authorized by statute, such as the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), as informed by the laws of war.” (Rule 1101, page II-139.)

President Obama has already used the AUMF to justify indefinite detention and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has proposed writing that justification into standard American law.  President Obama and Senator Graham worked with Congress last year to set up the current unfair military commissions.

They are using—as did President Bush—the concept of a global war against al Qaeda as justification for violating three pillars of the American justice system:

-If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to either be charged and tried, or be released.

-If you are tried, you have the right to a fair trial.

-If you are found not guilty, you have the right to go free.

Now that two presidents and hundreds of members of Congress from two different parties have responded to the heinous attacks on 9/11 by throwing away due process and fair trials, the conclusion is inescapable:  al Qaeda has destroyed the U.S. justice system.

It’s pretty obvious that self-imposed self destruction by states is one of the hallmark goals of terrorism; how could elected officials ignore—to this day—the American military and intelligence experts who warn them over and over again not to go down this road?

As a New Yorker who saw the second tower fall with my own eyes, I want justice for 9/11 and an end to terrorism. But our politicians have tried countering terror with injustice for over 9 years–and that makes me feel a lot LESS safe.

There’s been a more effective way to counter terror all along, one that doesn’t violate human rights: with justice. To take just one example: U.S. federal courts have a better track record than military commissions of prosecuting terrorism cases since 2001 by 390 to 3.

Join Amnesty International and urge President Obama and Congress to counter terror with justice: abandon military commissions and use U.S. federal courts to prosecute terrorism cases.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

30 thoughts on “USA: We find the defendant NOT guilty. Now lock him up!

  1. Let the unjust see the light of justice. Tommorow is promised to none.what goes around comes around. Please I would like to know who the real terrorists are. you can not use a sledge hammer to kill a fly. for crying out loud enough terror has been spread . let Omar Khadr free it seems his crime is that he knows the Quran by heart. How can man be so unfair to an innocent man.
    Justice is all we seek. Is it asking for too much

  2. Sick of crying , tired of trying. so yeah he is smilling.. but inside he's dying… thats the true prisonner in Guantanamo who does know he is a victim.. he want Justice… after all he obay to Allah, even afther thorture, he is able to forgive you… may God open your heart…

  3. I agree with Amnesty Intrnnl: give Omar Khadr a fair trial to determine whether he is innocent or guilty. The mil commissions are bogus in the eyes of the world and make USA look like hypocrites.

  4. Let the unjust see the light of justice. Tommorow is promised to none.what goes around comes around. Please I would like to know who the real terrorists are. you can not use a sledge hammer to kill a fly. for crying out loud enough terror has been spread . let Omar Khadr free it seems his crime is that he knows the Quran by heart. How can man be so unfair to an innocent man.
    Justice is all we seek. Is it asking for too much

  5. Sick of crying , tired of trying. so yeah he is smilling.. but inside he’s dying… thats the true prisonner in Guantanamo who does know he is a victim.. he want Justice… after all he obay to Allah, even afther thorture, he is able to forgive you… may God open your heart…

  6. I agree with Amnesty Intrnnl: give Omar Khadr a fair trial to determine whether he is innocent or guilty. The mil commissions are bogus in the eyes of the world and make USA look like hypocrites.

  7. No Doubt OBAMA Is a Ruler Of Super Power, But He Must Not Forget That There Is THE Supreme Power Above Him.

  8. No Doubt OBAMA Is a Ruler Of Super Power, But He Must Not Forget That There Is THE Supreme Power Above Him.

  9. What did this 15 year old boy do to be at the brunt of one of the most shameful episodes in modern history?
    ONE QUESTION, HOW IS IT THAT THIS BOY IS LOCKED UP AND DENIED EVERYTHING WHEN THE AMERICAN TORTURERS OF ABU GHURAIB ARE IMMUNE FOR THE ATTROCITIES THEY COMMITED…cant recall what they did? look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1HSeDBXro
    when your done look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKaUL4WOk-k&fe
    FYI the more graphic and damning pictures showing the us troops urinating on the naked beaten and raped iraqis have been removed..
    I want to help this unfortunate boy as the writers of amnesty suggested in the above link but when i tried I got the following message

    Online Action Center
    This action is no longer available

    Mr Obama we belived in you, Please President Obama keep youre promise , release this boy to regain whats left from a semblence of a normal life….otherwise bring your own to justice.

  10. What did this 15 year old boy do to be at the brunt of one of the most shameful episodes in modern history?
    ONE QUESTION, HOW IS IT THAT THIS BOY IS LOCKED UP AND DENIED EVERYTHING WHEN THE AMERICAN TORTURERS OF ABU GHURAIB ARE IMMUNE FOR THE ATTROCITIES THEY COMMITED…cant recall what they did? look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1HSeDBXro
    when your done look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKaUL4WOk-k&fe
    FYI the more graphic and damning pictures showing the us troops urinating on the naked beaten and raped iraqis have been removed..
    I want to help this unfortunate boy as the writers of amnesty suggested in the above link but when i tried I got the following message

    Online Action Center
    This action is no longer available

    Mr Obama we belived in you, Please President Obama keep youre promise , release this boy to regain whats left from a semblence of a normal life….otherwise bring your own to justice.

  11. What did this 15 year old boy do to be at the brunt of one of the most shameful episodes in modern history?
    ONE QUESTION, HOW IS IT THAT THIS BOY IS LOCKED UP AND DENIED EVERYTHING WHEN THE AMERICAN TORTURERS OF ABU GHURAIB ARE IMMUNE FOR THE ATTROCITIES THEY COMMITED…cant recall what they did? look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1HSeDBXro
    when your done look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKaUL4WOk-k&fe
    FYI the more graphic and damning pictures showing the us troops urinating on the naked beaten and raped iraqis have been removed..
    I want to help this unfortunate boy as the writers of amnesty suggested in the above link but when i tried I got the following message

    Online Action Center
    This action is no longer available

    Mr Obama we belived in you, Please President Obama keep youre promise , release this boy to regain whats left from a semblence of a normal life….otherwise bring your own to justice.

  12. What did this 15 year old boy do to be at the brunt of one of the most shameful episodes in modern history?
    ONE QUESTION, HOW IS IT THAT THIS BOY IS LOCKED UP AND DENIED EVERYTHING WHEN THE AMERICAN TORTURERS OF ABU GHURAIB ARE IMMUNE FOR THE ATTROCITIES THEY COMMITED…cant recall what they did? look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1HSeDBXro
    when your done look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKaUL4WOk-k&feature=related
    FYI the more graphic and damning pictures showing the us troops urinating on the naked beaten and raped iraqis have been removed..
    I want to help this unfortunate boy as the writers of amnesty suggested in the above link but when i tried I got the following message

    Online Action Center
    This action is no longer available

    Mr Obama we belived in you, Please President Obama keep youre promise , release this boy to regain whats left from a semblence of a normal life….otherwise bring your own to justice.

  13. Rubens
    I'd be interested to read your opinions on the Abu Ghurair US torturers whos scandalous underground torture of human beings was exposed.
    The link is here on amnesty go to http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror/six-years-
    In my post there you will find links to the images, its odd that you mention that should Omar not get tried to determine his innocence or guilt while proud heros that have come back from the war are not even detained while omar rotted in jail, most probably similarly tortured by the same team after returning from Abu ghuraib.

    Omar shouldnt be tried, he should be FREED! this injustice is as shameful as is the fact that I am the only writer in the link above.

  14. Rubens
    I'd be interested to read your opinions on the Abu Ghurair US torturers whos scandalous underground torture of human beings was exposed.
    The link is here on amnesty go to http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror/six-years-
    In my post there you will find links to the images, its odd that you mention that should Omar not get tried to determine his innocence or guilt while proud heros that have come back from the war are not even detained while omar rotted in jail, most probably similarly tortured by the same team after returning from Abu ghuraib.

    Omar shouldnt be tried, he should be FREED! this injustice is as shameful as is the fact that I am the only writer in the link above.

  15. Rubens
    I'd be interested to read your opinions on the Abu Ghurair US torturers whos scandalous underground torture of human beings was exposed.
    The link is here on amnesty go to http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror/six-years-
    In my post there you will find links to the images, its odd that you mention that should Omar not get tried to determine his innocence or guilt while proud heros that have come back from the war are not even detained while omar rotted in jail, most probably similarly tortured by the same team after returning from Abu ghuraib.

    Omar shouldnt be tried, he should be FREED! this injustice is as shameful as is the fact that I am the only writer in the link above.

  16. I think anyone accused of a crime should be given legal due process and a fair trial, whether that's a Guantanamo detainee or an American accused of torture. One standard for everyone.

  17. Rubens
    I’d be interested to read your opinions on the Abu Ghurair US torturers whos scandalous underground torture of human beings was exposed.
    The link is here on amnesty go to http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror/six-years-on-abu-ghraib-victims-still-fighting-for-justice/
    In my post there you will find links to the images, its odd that you mention that should Omar not get tried to determine his innocence or guilt while proud heros that have come back from the war are not even detained while omar rotted in jail, most probably similarly tortured by the same team after returning from Abu ghuraib.

    Omar shouldnt be tried, he should be FREED! this injustice is as shameful as is the fact that I am the only writer in the link above.

  18. I think anyone accused of a crime should be given legal due process and a fair trial, whether that’s a Guantanamo detainee or an American accused of torture. One standard for everyone.

  19. Amnesty International USA Voices Serious Concerns about Federal Immigration Proposal Priorities

    Download image WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amnesty International USA voiced serious concerns today regarding priorities for a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill proposed by U.S. Senators Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A draft version of the bill summary touts increased border patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and penalties for immigration status-related crimes. However, it pays little attention to long-needed reform of ICE's unnecessary home-invasion style enforcement operations, targeting and often terrorizing undocumented persons.

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081014/AILO

    "The senators' get- tough language fails to recognize that an end to the ongoing human rights violations in immigration enforcement practices and a vigorous defense of human rights is an essential component of true immigration 'reform,'" said Lory D. Rosenberg, interim policy and advocacy director for Amnesty International USA's refugee and migrants' rights program.

    "Immigration reform is desperately needed in the United States," said Rosenberg. "Reform measures cannot however flout fundamental human rights such as liberty and equality before the law. The increased enforcement provisions portend for a virtual tsunami in mandatory detentions, which lock people up without the right to a bond hearing, in direct violation of fundamental human rights."

    The bill summary emphasizes aggressive identification and expulsion of broad categories of immigrants and refugees, including those found in federal, state or local prisons, those who enter or reenter unlawfully, and those believed to have 'gang' connections. Absent from these provisions is any consideration of a person's individual circumstances, including the amount of time living in the U.S., presence of family members, community ties and employment history.

    Without necessary safeguards and individual, case-by-case determinations, broad gang provisions that may require only an association may be used to deport immigrants and asylum seekers who often are marginalized from the workforce and forced to live in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence.

    Additional measures to combat unlawful immigration include increased punishment and prison sentences for fraud, misrepresentation, and other violations of immigration law, again regardless of circumstances, which could result in the imprisonment of asylum seekers who use fake passports to flee persecution.

    The broad sweep of prisons contemplated by the bill summary will indiscriminately pull in both those held for minor traffic violations and serious violent criminals. What is more, despite an extremely unfavorable report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) imposing more than 30 corrective recommendations on the 287(g) program that have not been made, the bill summary perpetuates the inappropriately designed state-federal enforcement programs, such as 287(g), which has received constant criticism for its disregard of obligatory human rights protections as well as its flagrant civil rights and liberties abuses.

    "These escalated enforcement measures would be implemented in the present climate of inefficient and often out-of-control ICE arrest and detention operations, vastly increasing the number of immigrants and asylum seekers subject to mandatory detention and denied meaningful access to family, community or counsel to represent their rights in the courts," said Rosenberg.

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to craft a fair and humane immigration policy that:

    •Provides a formal process through which undocumented people can obtain legal status. A legalization scheme can make a significant contribution towards protecting immigrants' rights, particularly in reducing labor exploitation and promoting social cohesion.
    •Reforms immigration policies that unnecessarily separate families. Immigration judges should have the authority to review all decisions to detain immigrants and the discretion to stop deportation in the interest of family unity. To ensure fairness, these decisions should be subject to federal court review.
    •Fully guarantees immigrant workers' labor rights, including the right to join unions.
    •Focuses on protecting the rights of immigrants most at risk of human rights violations, including undocumented immigrants, immigrant women and immigrant children.
    •Restores immigration enforcement responsibilities exclusively to federal authorities and terminates unconstitutional state and local law enforcement programs and state laws purporting to enforce immigration standards.
    •Places immigrants and their communities at the center of the debate on immigration by recognizing and ensuring their role in formulating and implementing strategies to protect their rights.

    "Neither the U.S. Constitution nor international law permits the arbitrary penalization of entire communities," said Rosenberg. "Appropriate safeguards against unwarranted, arbitrary detention and expedited deportation are critical if the reform legislation is to achieve its goal of bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can be properly screened and registered by the authorities and welcomed into U.S. society."

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

  20. Amnesty International USA Voices Serious Concerns about Federal Immigration Proposal Priorities

    Download image WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amnesty International USA voiced serious concerns today regarding priorities for a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill proposed by U.S. Senators Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A draft version of the bill summary touts increased border patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and penalties for immigration status-related crimes. However, it pays little attention to long-needed reform of ICE's unnecessary home-invasion style enforcement operations, targeting and often terrorizing undocumented persons.

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081014/AILO

    "The senators' get- tough language fails to recognize that an end to the ongoing human rights violations in immigration enforcement practices and a vigorous defense of human rights is an essential component of true immigration 'reform,'" said Lory D. Rosenberg, interim policy and advocacy director for Amnesty International USA's refugee and migrants' rights program.

    "Immigration reform is desperately needed in the United States," said Rosenberg. "Reform measures cannot however flout fundamental human rights such as liberty and equality before the law. The increased enforcement provisions portend for a virtual tsunami in mandatory detentions, which lock people up without the right to a bond hearing, in direct violation of fundamental human rights."

    The bill summary emphasizes aggressive identification and expulsion of broad categories of immigrants and refugees, including those found in federal, state or local prisons, those who enter or reenter unlawfully, and those believed to have 'gang' connections. Absent from these provisions is any consideration of a person's individual circumstances, including the amount of time living in the U.S., presence of family members, community ties and employment history.

    Without necessary safeguards and individual, case-by-case determinations, broad gang provisions that may require only an association may be used to deport immigrants and asylum seekers who often are marginalized from the workforce and forced to live in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence.

    Additional measures to combat unlawful immigration include increased punishment and prison sentences for fraud, misrepresentation, and other violations of immigration law, again regardless of circumstances, which could result in the imprisonment of asylum seekers who use fake passports to flee persecution.

    The broad sweep of prisons contemplated by the bill summary will indiscriminately pull in both those held for minor traffic violations and serious violent criminals. What is more, despite an extremely unfavorable report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) imposing more than 30 corrective recommendations on the 287(g) program that have not been made, the bill summary perpetuates the inappropriately designed state-federal enforcement programs, such as 287(g), which has received constant criticism for its disregard of obligatory human rights protections as well as its flagrant civil rights and liberties abuses.

    "These escalated enforcement measures would be implemented in the present climate of inefficient and often out-of-control ICE arrest and detention operations, vastly increasing the number of immigrants and asylum seekers subject to mandatory detention and denied meaningful access to family, community or counsel to represent their rights in the courts," said Rosenberg.

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to craft a fair and humane immigration policy that:

    •Provides a formal process through which undocumented people can obtain legal status. A legalization scheme can make a significant contribution towards protecting immigrants' rights, particularly in reducing labor exploitation and promoting social cohesion.
    •Reforms immigration policies that unnecessarily separate families. Immigration judges should have the authority to review all decisions to detain immigrants and the discretion to stop deportation in the interest of family unity. To ensure fairness, these decisions should be subject to federal court review.
    •Fully guarantees immigrant workers' labor rights, including the right to join unions.
    •Focuses on protecting the rights of immigrants most at risk of human rights violations, including undocumented immigrants, immigrant women and immigrant children.
    •Restores immigration enforcement responsibilities exclusively to federal authorities and terminates unconstitutional state and local law enforcement programs and state laws purporting to enforce immigration standards.
    •Places immigrants and their communities at the center of the debate on immigration by recognizing and ensuring their role in formulating and implementing strategies to protect their rights.

    "Neither the U.S. Constitution nor international law permits the arbitrary penalization of entire communities," said Rosenberg. "Appropriate safeguards against unwarranted, arbitrary detention and expedited deportation are critical if the reform legislation is to achieve its goal of bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can be properly screened and registered by the authorities and welcomed into U.S. society."

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

  21. Amnesty International USA Voices Serious Concerns about Federal Immigration Proposal Priorities

    Download image WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amnesty International USA voiced serious concerns today regarding priorities for a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill proposed by U.S. Senators Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A draft version of the bill summary touts increased border patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and penalties for immigration status-related crimes. However, it pays little attention to long-needed reform of ICE's unnecessary home-invasion style enforcement operations, targeting and often terrorizing undocumented persons.

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081014/AILO

    "The senators' get- tough language fails to recognize that an end to the ongoing human rights violations in immigration enforcement practices and a vigorous defense of human rights is an essential component of true immigration 'reform,'" said Lory D. Rosenberg, interim policy and advocacy director for Amnesty International USA's refugee and migrants' rights program.

    "Immigration reform is desperately needed in the United States," said Rosenberg. "Reform measures cannot however flout fundamental human rights such as liberty and equality before the law. The increased enforcement provisions portend for a virtual tsunami in mandatory detentions, which lock people up without the right to a bond hearing, in direct violation of fundamental human rights."

    The bill summary emphasizes aggressive identification and expulsion of broad categories of immigrants and refugees, including those found in federal, state or local prisons, those who enter or reenter unlawfully, and those believed to have 'gang' connections. Absent from these provisions is any consideration of a person's individual circumstances, including the amount of time living in the U.S., presence of family members, community ties and employment history.

    Without necessary safeguards and individual, case-by-case determinations, broad gang provisions that may require only an association may be used to deport immigrants and asylum seekers who often are marginalized from the workforce and forced to live in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence.

    Additional measures to combat unlawful immigration include increased punishment and prison sentences for fraud, misrepresentation, and other violations of immigration law, again regardless of circumstances, which could result in the imprisonment of asylum seekers who use fake passports to flee persecution.

    The broad sweep of prisons contemplated by the bill summary will indiscriminately pull in both those held for minor traffic violations and serious violent criminals. What is more, despite an extremely unfavorable report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) imposing more than 30 corrective recommendations on the 287(g) program that have not been made, the bill summary perpetuates the inappropriately designed state-federal enforcement programs, such as 287(g), which has received constant criticism for its disregard of obligatory human rights protections as well as its flagrant civil rights and liberties abuses.

    "These escalated enforcement measures would be implemented in the present climate of inefficient and often out-of-control ICE arrest and detention operations, vastly increasing the number of immigrants and asylum seekers subject to mandatory detention and denied meaningful access to family, community or counsel to represent their rights in the courts," said Rosenberg.

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to craft a fair and humane immigration policy that:

    •Provides a formal process through which undocumented people can obtain legal status. A legalization scheme can make a significant contribution towards protecting immigrants' rights, particularly in reducing labor exploitation and promoting social cohesion.
    •Reforms immigration policies that unnecessarily separate families. Immigration judges should have the authority to review all decisions to detain immigrants and the discretion to stop deportation in the interest of family unity. To ensure fairness, these decisions should be subject to federal court review.
    •Fully guarantees immigrant workers' labor rights, including the right to join unions.
    •Focuses on protecting the rights of immigrants most at risk of human rights violations, including undocumented immigrants, immigrant women and immigrant children.
    •Restores immigration enforcement responsibilities exclusively to federal authorities and terminates unconstitutional state and local law enforcement programs and state laws purporting to enforce immigration standards.
    •Places immigrants and their communities at the center of the debate on immigration by recognizing and ensuring their role in formulating and implementing strategies to protect their rights.

    "Neither the U.S. Constitution nor international law permits the arbitrary penalization of entire communities," said Rosenberg. "Appropriate safeguards against unwarranted, arbitrary detention and expedited deportation are critical if the reform legislation is to achieve its goal of bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can be properly screened and registered by the authorities and welcomed into U.S. society."

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

  22. Amnesty International USA Voices Serious Concerns about Federal Immigration Proposal Priorities

    Download image WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amnesty International USA voiced serious concerns today regarding priorities for a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill proposed by U.S. Senators Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A draft version of the bill summary touts increased border patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and penalties for immigration status-related crimes. However, it pays little attention to long-needed reform of ICE’s unnecessary home-invasion style enforcement operations, targeting and often terrorizing undocumented persons.

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081014/AILOGO)

    “The senators’ get- tough language fails to recognize that an end to the ongoing human rights violations in immigration enforcement practices and a vigorous defense of human rights is an essential component of true immigration ‘reform,’” said Lory D. Rosenberg, interim policy and advocacy director for Amnesty International USA’s refugee and migrants’ rights program.

    “Immigration reform is desperately needed in the United States,” said Rosenberg. “Reform measures cannot however flout fundamental human rights such as liberty and equality before the law. The increased enforcement provisions portend for a virtual tsunami in mandatory detentions, which lock people up without the right to a bond hearing, in direct violation of fundamental human rights.”

    The bill summary emphasizes aggressive identification and expulsion of broad categories of immigrants and refugees, including those found in federal, state or local prisons, those who enter or reenter unlawfully, and those believed to have ‘gang’ connections. Absent from these provisions is any consideration of a person’s individual circumstances, including the amount of time living in the U.S., presence of family members, community ties and employment history.

    Without necessary safeguards and individual, case-by-case determinations, broad gang provisions that may require only an association may be used to deport immigrants and asylum seekers who often are marginalized from the workforce and forced to live in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence.

    Additional measures to combat unlawful immigration include increased punishment and prison sentences for fraud, misrepresentation, and other violations of immigration law, again regardless of circumstances, which could result in the imprisonment of asylum seekers who use fake passports to flee persecution.

    The broad sweep of prisons contemplated by the bill summary will indiscriminately pull in both those held for minor traffic violations and serious violent criminals. What is more, despite an extremely unfavorable report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) imposing more than 30 corrective recommendations on the 287(g) program that have not been made, the bill summary perpetuates the inappropriately designed state-federal enforcement programs, such as 287(g), which has received constant criticism for its disregard of obligatory human rights protections as well as its flagrant civil rights and liberties abuses.

    “These escalated enforcement measures would be implemented in the present climate of inefficient and often out-of-control ICE arrest and detention operations, vastly increasing the number of immigrants and asylum seekers subject to mandatory detention and denied meaningful access to family, community or counsel to represent their rights in the courts,” said Rosenberg.

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to craft a fair and humane immigration policy that:

    •Provides a formal process through which undocumented people can obtain legal status. A legalization scheme can make a significant contribution towards protecting immigrants’ rights, particularly in reducing labor exploitation and promoting social cohesion.
    •Reforms immigration policies that unnecessarily separate families. Immigration judges should have the authority to review all decisions to detain immigrants and the discretion to stop deportation in the interest of family unity. To ensure fairness, these decisions should be subject to federal court review.
    •Fully guarantees immigrant workers’ labor rights, including the right to join unions.
    •Focuses on protecting the rights of immigrants most at risk of human rights violations, including undocumented immigrants, immigrant women and immigrant children.
    •Restores immigration enforcement responsibilities exclusively to federal authorities and terminates unconstitutional state and local law enforcement programs and state laws purporting to enforce immigration standards.
    •Places immigrants and their communities at the center of the debate on immigration by recognizing and ensuring their role in formulating and implementing strategies to protect their rights.

    “Neither the U.S. Constitution nor international law permits the arbitrary penalization of entire communities,” said Rosenberg. “Appropriate safeguards against unwarranted, arbitrary detention and expedited deportation are critical if the reform legislation is to achieve its goal of bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can be properly screened and registered by the authorities and welcomed into U.S. society.”

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

  23. Dear Mr. Johnson,

    Thank you for your post and for sustaining the fight for what is fair and decent.

    Last month, I experienced a proud moment as a US citizen when I witnessed a representative of our government publicly condemn inhumane practices including arbitrary detention and torture of detainees at the Human Rights Council. In addition to the very real concern you highlight about the innocent or not guilty being indefinitely detained, I also find it disquieting that these statements of law, policy and practice will not only affect people directly subject to US jurisdiction, but also that the US will lose its ability to effectively advocate for the rights of detainees in many places where such positive influence is (also) desperately needed.

    Because of the stature of the US in international standard setting, the Obama administration's continuing affirmation of practices now widely condemned begins to transform once-perceived outliers into accepted disregard for democratic principles and the rule of law.

    Glad to happen upon your post. I wish someone had sent it to me (earlier).

    Yours,
    Unreasonable Woman

  24. Dear Mr. Johnson,

    Thank you for your post and for sustaining the fight for what is fair and decent.

    Last month, I experienced a proud moment as a US citizen when I witnessed a representative of our government publicly condemn inhumane practices including arbitrary detention and torture of detainees at the Human Rights Council. In addition to the very real concern you highlight about the innocent or not guilty being indefinitely detained, I also find it disquieting that these statements of law, policy and practice will not only affect people directly subject to US jurisdiction, but also that the US will lose its ability to effectively advocate for the rights of detainees in many places where such positive influence is (also) desperately needed.

    Because of the stature of the US in international standard setting, the Obama administration’s continuing affirmation of practices now widely condemned begins to transform once-perceived outliers into accepted disregard for democratic principles and the rule of law.

    Glad to happen upon your post. I wish someone had sent it to me (earlier).

    Yours,
    Unreasonable Woman

  25. This is my first time i visit here. I discovered so many fascinating stuff in your pages especially it's discussion. From the tons of comments on your writing, I assume I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Sustain the good work.

  26. This is my first time i visit here. I discovered so many fascinating stuff in your pages especially it’s discussion. From the tons of comments on your writing, I assume I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Sustain the good work.