Shaheen & Hassan Welcome Deputy Secretary of Defense Hicks to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & Pease Air National Guard Base

Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen

July 07, 2021

Left: Senators Shaheen and Hassan with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. Right: Shaheen visits the Pease Air National Guard Base.

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) Kathleen Hicks on Wednesday for a tour of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, followed by a visit to the Pease Air National Guard Base. The Senators and DSD Hicks discussed New Hampshire’s important role in support of our national security through updates on the status of ongoing projects, including construction of the superflood basin and the Paint, Blast and Rubber Facility.

“New Hampshire has long played a critical role in support of our national defense, so I was glad to welcome Deputy Secretary Hicks to New Hampshire to see that important work up-close,” said Senator Shaheen. “From maintaining our submarines at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to serving as a KC-46 main operating base at Pease, our shipyard workers and service members are hard at work in support of our national security at home and abroad. As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, bolstering our state’s capabilities to safeguard our defense priorities will continue to be top of mind, especially as the Senate Armed Services Committee gets to work on the annual defense bill at the end of the month.”

“Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of their workers, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base continue to be models of excellence,” Senator Hassan said. “I am really grateful for the resilience that all who serve at the Shipyard and Pease have shown throughout the pandemic. Even during the toughest months of the pandemic, they never lost sight of their shared mission of keeping America safe, secure, and free. I was glad to join Deputy Secretary Hicks to show her the vital work being done in New Hampshire to strengthen our national security, and I will keep working to ensure that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base have the support that they need.”

Senator Shaheen fought tirelessly to secure funding for the super flood basin and the Paint, Blast and Rubber Facility, which Senator Hassan supported as well. This afternoon, the Senators and DSD Hicks received updates on construction projects at the Shipyard and participated in a tour of a submarine. Later at Pease, they received a briefing on the KC-46 and the 157th Air Refueling Wing. Thanks to strong advocacy by Senator Shaheen, then-Governor Hassan and the New Hampshire National Guard, Pease was selected as the Air Force’s first Air National Guard KC-46 main operating base, an economic benefit to Pease and the surrounding community. In the most recent government funding legislation signed into law, Senator Shaheen – also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee – fought to procure 12 KC-46 Pegasus refueling tankers, with the support of Senator Hassan.

Capito, Manchin Announce Infrastructure Project to Support Food Security in Wheeling

Source: United States Senator for West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $48,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to Grow Ohio Valley for a project to support the Upper Ohio Valley local food chain. This project will be matched with $73,850 in local funds and will be used to create a feasibility study and two reports to inform the launch of a Food Enterprise Center in a historic Wheeling building.

“It’s important that we take steps to safeguard against future disruptions in food supply chains, ensuring access to markets for producers and quality choices for consumers, especially our schools,” Senator Capito said. “The conceptualization and eventual creation of a Food Enterprise Center in Wheeling will grow important initiatives like the Restaurants to School Meals program and help solve persistent food insecurity issues in the region.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the heartbreaking issue of food insecurity, especially among our students in the Mountain State. The Food Enterprise Center in Wheeling will not only create additional meals for West Virginia students, it will also support local food vendors and restaurant workers,” said Senator Manchin. “ARC remains a strong partner for West Virginia and this recent investment demonstrates their commitment to supporting our people and our economy. I look forward to seeing the results of this study and I will continue to work with ARC to make this project a reality to ensure a reliable food supply chain in the Wheeling area.

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Senator Coons joins anti-hunger advocates in Georgetown

Source: United States Senator for Delaware Christopher Coons

GEORGETOWN, Del. – Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined anti-hunger advocates for the Food Bank of Delaware’s drive-thru distribution event at Crossroad Community Church here.

Sen. Coons, who spoke to help raise awareness about food insecurity, joined Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg, Food Bank of Delaware officials, advocates, and volunteers at the July 6 event. 

“Food insecurity in Delaware and around the globe increased sharply amid COVID-19,” Sen. Coons said. “COVID relief funding and organizations like Hunger Free America and the Food Bank of Delaware have helped provide food to our neighbors who need it most. As the country continues to recover from the pandemic, we need to make sustained investments in a food system that is fair and resilient.”

Press Releases 07/7/2021 Tillis Leads Letter to DOJ Seeking Answers Over Open Border Policies Sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking answers over actions taken by the Biden Administration and the DOJ to open our borders and encourage illegal immigration in the midst of an ongoing crisis at the southern border.

Source: United States Senator for North Carolina Thom Tillis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), James Inhofe (R-OK), and James Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking answers over actions taken by the Biden Administration and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open our borders and encourage illegal immigration in the midst of an ongoing crisis at the southern border.
 
“In recent years, our asylum laws have been abused and misused by illegal immigrants who are primarily economic migrants and are not otherwise eligible to immigrate to the United States,” the Senators wrote. “The cartels and human smugglers have learned how to manipulate our asylum laws, and to profit from abusing asylum by bringing illegal immigrants to the border. Instead of doing more to secure our border and discourage illegal immigration, the Biden Administration is now making it easier for economic migrants to make dubious and fraudulent asylum claims, to the delight of the cartels.”
 
The Senators continued, “This misguided embrace of open borders comes from the very top. In his first month in office, President Biden issued an executive order which directed you to review our asylum laws and to issue regulations to allow more asylum claims, regardless of merit. In response, you vacated two immigration rulings, Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B-, which prevented general economic migrants from abusing the asylum system and making fraudulent claims.”
 
Read the full letter here
 

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Portman, Kaine Lead CODEL on Visit to Quito, Ecuador to Meet with President Guillermo Lasso, Other Members of the Ecuadorian Government, National Assembly Leaders, and Members of the Business Community and Civil Society

Source: United States Senator for Ohio Rob Portman


The Delegation was in Quito to Discuss Narcotrafficking, Migration, Environment, Economic and Security Issues


July 7, 2021 | Press Releases

QUITO, ECUADOR Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), both members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, concluded a visit to Quito, Ecuador as part of a Congressional Delegation (CODEL); Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) joined as well. They met with officials from the Government of Ecuador, National Assembly, business leaders, and civil society organizations to discuss the environment; trade, economic, and migration issues; narcotrafficking and security challenges, and to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to enhancing the bilateral relationship. During their meetings, the senators also discussed U.S. efforts to help Ecuador fight COVID-19, including the recent donation of two million Pfizer vaccines to Ecuador.

“I appreciate the discussions we had with President Guillermo Lasso, other members of the Ecuadorian government, and Ecuadorian business leaders on migration issues, combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and the different ways we can best assist each other in fighting narcotrafficking, money laundering, wildlife trafficking, and other crimes,” said Portman. “I want to commend the Lasso government on their desire to foster strong relations with the United States – the delegation looks forward to working closely with Ecuador in the near future.”

“Ecuador is an important partner in the region, and I look forward to strengthening our bilateral relationship. This is why I was glad to co-lead our bipartisan Senate delegation to Quito today to enhance ties between our nations,” said Kaine. “We had productive conversations with President Guillermo Lasso, other members of the Ecuadorian government, and business and civil society leaders to better understand how Congress can help Ecuador expand economic opportunity and the security and prosperity of its people. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will continue to work to promote our alliance and address issues impacting both our nations such as COVID, migration and regional security.”

The delegation met with President Guillermo Lasso to discuss possible areas of expanding cooperation between the U.S. and Ecuador, including economic programs and the growing bilateral trade relationship, and cooperation on security and curbing narcotrafficking. In addition, the U.S. delegation held meetings with the President of the National Assembly, Guadalupe Llori, and with members of the National Assembly Legislative Administrative Council.

The senators also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauricio Montalvo, Minister of Defense Fernando Donoso, and Minister of Commerce Julio Jose Prado to discuss security, governance, the plight of Venezuelan and other migrants, the fight against drug trafficking, and U.S. assistance to help detect money laundering and financial crimes, among other issues.

As part of the agenda, the delegation also visited the Hogar de la Madre San Francisco migrant shelter, run by the Jesuits and supported by USAID. The shelter provides housing and mental health support to migrant families who desire to settle in Ecuador. They also participated in a roundtable with environmental and wildlife trafficking experts, and met with senior business leaders.

The delegation was grateful to the men and women of U.S. Embassy Quito for their outstanding support of the delegations visit and for ably representing our country abroad.

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Rosen Leads Colleagues in Calls to Help Combat Wildfires, Provide Data on Climate Change, and Expand Land Conservation Efforts

Source: United States Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced she and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) have led a group of six of their Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter to Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, respectively, requesting strong support for wildfire suppression and forest management funding.

Senator Rosen also announced that she has led twelve of her Senate colleagues in a letter to Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Science, Justice, and Related Agencies, respectively, requesting $6 million in funding for Regional Climate Centers (RCCs), which will provide each of the country’s six RCCs – including the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada –  the resources they need to provide comprehensive up-to-date climate information to government agencies, farmers, water resource managers, businesses, emergency managers, and the public.

Lastly, Rosen announced that she has led six of her Senate colleagues in a letter to Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, respectively, requesting nearly $89 million in funding to support the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s National Conservation Lands and cultural resources protection efforts.

“Wildfires affect a growing number of states in the West each year, and fire-fighting expenses incurred by federal land management agencies often exceed $1 billion annually. Fires pose a threat to human health, personal property, wildlife, and our public lands. In 2020, nearly 60,000 wildfires burned more than 10.3 million acres and destroyed more than 17,000 structures. The federal responsibility for wildfire suppression and management is critical to protecting lives, property, and natural resources on public lands,” wrote the Senators in their bipartisan letter requesting funding to combat wildfires. “We request that you continue to pursue robust funding for strategies and resources pertaining to wildfire management in FY2022.

“Since its authorization in 1978, the RCC program has been collecting and distributing raw climate data to meet the needs of its various partners. There are six Regional Climate Centers serving the entire country located in: Nevada, Nebraska, New York, Texas, North Carolina, and Indiana. Together, they coordinate services and products to support both national and regional priorities,” wrote the Senators in their letter requesting funding for Regional Climate Centers. “The demand for accurate climate information has skyrocketed and will only grow as we continue to grapple with the effects of climate change. Providing $6 million for RCCs will enable them to help communities develop mitigation and resiliency strategies.”

“The BLM manages the largest and most diverse body of cultural, historical, and paleontological resources of any federal land management agency. However, BLM has surveyed only about 10 percent of the lands it manages. An increase in funding for BLM’s cultural resources management account of $1.5 million over the FY2021 level will help the BLM fulfill its statutory requirements to inventory and protect important cultural and paleontological resources, as well as improve government-to-government relations with Native American Tribes,” wrote the Senators in their letter requesting funding for National Conservation Lands and cultural resources. “We also ask that you provide BLM with $67.674 million to manage the system of National Conservation Lands, which encompasses more than 37 million acres of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas (NCAs) and similar designations, as well as Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs).”

The full text of the letter requesting funding to combat wildfires can be found here.

The full text of the letter requesting funding for Regional Climate Centers can be found here.

The full text of the letter requesting funding for land conservation can be found here.

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Lankford, Colleagues Send Letter to DOJ Seeking Answers About Open Border Policies

Source: United States Senator for Oklahoma James Lankford

07.07.21

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) to send a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking answers over actions taken by the Biden Administration and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open our borders and encourage illegal immigration in the midst of an ongoing crisis at the southern border.

Lankford is the lead Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Government Operation and Border Management. Lankford took a trip to the Arizona border in March, during which he visited the unfinished border wall system on the southern border that was halted by the Biden Administration. Lankford also traveled to Texas with a delegation of Senators to tour the Rio Grande Valley area of the southern border as part of his ongoing work to provide necessary oversight of the crisis. 

“In recent years, our asylum laws have been abused and misused by illegal immigrants who are primarily economic migrants and are not otherwise eligible to immigrate to the United States,” the Senators wrote. “The cartels and human smugglers have learned how to manipulate our asylum laws, and to profit from abusing asylum by bringing illegal immigrants to the border. Instead of doing more to secure our border and discourage illegal immigration, the Biden Administration is now making it easier for economic migrants to make dubious and fraudulent asylum claims, to the delight of the cartels.”

The Senators continued, “This misguided embrace of open borders comes from the very top. In his first month in office, President Biden issued an executive order which directed you to review our asylum laws and to issue regulations to allow more asylum claims, regardless of merit. In response, you vacated two immigration rulings, Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B-, which prevented general economic migrants from abusing the asylum system and making fraudulent claims.”

You can view a copy of the letter HERE or below.

Dear Attorney General Garland:

We write today to express our serious concern over actions taken by the Biden Administration and your Department of Justice (DOJ) to open our borders and encourage illegal immigration in the midst of an ongoing crisis at the southern border. Since January, US Border Patrol has encountered over 700,000 illegal immigrants, not including the massive number likely encountered in June. This record-breaking flood of illegal immigrants to our southern border has been prompted by the Biden Administration’s reversal of effective enforcement and deterrence policies, as well as the promise of mass amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants already in the US.

In recent years, our asylum laws have been abused and misused by illegal immigrants who are primarily economic migrants and are not otherwise eligible to immigrate to the United States. The cartels and human smugglers have learned how to manipulate our asylum laws, and to profit from abusing asylum by bringing illegal immigrants to the border. Instead of doing more to secure our border and discourage illegal immigration, the Biden Administration is now making it easier for economic migrants to make dubious and fraudulent asylum claims, to the delight of the cartels.

This misguided embrace of open borders comes from the very top. In his first month in office, President Biden issued an executive order which directed you to review our asylum laws and to issue regulations to allow more asylum claims, regardless of merit. In response, you vacated two immigration rulings, Matter of L-E-A– and Matter of A-B-, which prevented general economic migrants from abusing the asylum system and making fraudulent claims.

We are sympathetic to the plight of those seeking to come to the United States to better their lives, escape harsh conditions in their home countries, and flee general violence. Many are manipulated by the cartels, who profit from hopes and dreams, but in exchange for a dangerous and potentially deadly journey to the US.

Our nation’s border and immigration laws should not be ignored simply due to difficult circumstances in foreign nations. By opening the door to more fraudulent asylum claims, the Biden Administration is enabling and energizing the cartels and inviting another wave of economic migrants to illegally immigrate to our southern border.

To better understand and respond to the Biden Administration’s misguided asylum policies, we ask that you respond to the following questions no later than August 2, 2021:

(1) Did DOJ or the Biden Administration conduct an analysis of the impact of vacating Matter of L-E-A- and Matter of A-B- on illegal economic migration before taking this course of action? If so, did this analysis consider the pull factor of drawing more illegal immigrants to the border and enabling the cartels who profit from asylum abuse?

(2) How many asylum seekers currently request asylum based on private criminal activity, and are being denied as a result? How many more asylum seekers would qualify due to the Biden Administration’s actions?

(3) In light of a historic immigration backlog, DOJ requested an additional 100 immigration judges in its FY2022 budget request. If the Biden Administration’s promotion of asylum fraud goes through, will DOJ request additional judges to help process the inevitable wave of claims based on private criminal activity?

(4) Has DOJ or the Biden Administration conducted a cost review to determine how much encouraging fraudulent asylum claims will cost the American taxpayer? What resources may be diverted from DOJ which could otherwise be directed towards protecting public safety and prosecuting dangerous criminals?

We are extremely skeptical of the changes proposed by the Biden Administration, and remain concerned that these changes will encourage more economic migrants to illegally immigrate when our border is already in crisis. We look forward to your timely and detailed response to our questions on this very serious issue.

Sincerely

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Murphy Statement on Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise

Source: United States Senator for Connecticut – Chris Murphy

July 07, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday released the following statement on the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise: 

“The killing of President Moise is a sad and troubling development and a continuation of the violence that has charted Haiti’s political course for far too long. Haiti’s leaders should come together to prevent this horrible act from triggering violent reprisals, and conduct a full investigation to hold accountable those involved with this heinous assassination. In the coming months, the international community should be laser focused on supporting free and fair elections that allow the Haitian people to control their future,” said Murphy.

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Murphy, Baldwin Op-Ed in Health Affairs: The Biden Administration Has the Power to Protect Americans From Junk Insurance Plans

Source: United States Senator for Connecticut – Chris Murphy

July 07, 2021

WASHINGTON—After the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed challenges to the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), both members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, authored an op-ed in Health Affairs to highlight the dangers of junk insurance plans that deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, including a COVID-19 diagnosis. Before the next Open Enrollment Period, Murphy and Baldwin are calling on the Biden administration to protect Americans from junk plans by closing the Trump administration’s loophole that allowed them to flood the marketplace.

Last year, the senators urged the Trump administration to cover the COVID-19 treatment expenses for those enrolled in junk insurance plans and called on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to reevaluate the baseline assumptions and projections it published regarding the use and purchase of junk plans.

“Never before has health insurance mattered more to Americans. Our nation has been shaken to its core by a pandemic that has taken over 600,000 lives. But the toll of the pandemic cannot be quantified by the death toll alone. That’s because right now, thousands and thousands of people who contracted the virus months ago are still suffering. These ‘long-haulers’ live with severe headaches, constant nausea, brain fog and other after-effects. We are still learning about the long-term prognosis of a COVID diagnosis, and researchers and clinicians are hard at work trying to find answers,” the senators wrote.

“One of the primary reasons why junk insurance plans are so inexpensive is that they don’t have to cover pre-existing health conditions. And they don’t have to cover prescription drugs, mental health or substance use disorder treatment, maternity care, and a host of other basic needs,” the senators continued. “No junk insurance company openly advertises the fact that their coverage can leave people with pre-existing conditions out in the cold, and too often these companies actively mislead consumers.”

“Without immediate action, Americans may unwittingly buy these inadequate plans during the next Open Enrollment Period. And those with COVID histories may buy a plan that refuses to cover them for any expenses related to that condition,” the senators wrote.

“The Biden administration can fix this by taking action, but their window is short to close Trump’s loophole that allowed junk insurance plans to flourish. To make sure that these plans don’t flood the marketplace for the next Open Enrollment Period, the administration needs to roll back these junk plans before the fall,” the senators concluded.

You can read the full op-ed here.

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Durbin Calls On Justice Department To Reconsider Its Approach To Ongoing Detention At Guantanamo Bay

Source: United States Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin

07.07.21

Durbin: Every day that the prison remains open, its existence calls into question our commitment to human rights & the rule of law

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today urged Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland to ensure that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) approach to ongoing detention at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay reflects the values of our nation.  In a letter to AG Garland, Durbin argued that indefinite detention is antithetical to the ideals of liberty that the United States was founded upon and called on Garland to reconsider DOJ’s approach to the applicability of the basic safeguards of due process to the men who remain imprisoned without charge or trial at Guantanamo.

“The Department’s legal positions should reflect our nation’s commitment to liberty and the rule of law, recognizing that our nation is strongest when it adheres to its core values.  Legal positions or arguments that may have once seemed justified to some in the aftermath of 9/11 must be viewed in light of current circumstances,” Durbin wrote.  “As we approach the 20th anniversary of those attacks and the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the Department should revisit its positions and arguments regarding the continued authority to detain men without charge or trial—and without due process—at Guantanamo.”

Durbin has been an advocate in the effort to close Guantanamo Bay for many years.  In 2013, Durbin chaired a hearing to examine the national security, fiscal, and human rights implications of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.  In April, Durbin led 23 Senate Democrats in a letter to President Joe Biden expressing their support for finally closing the detention facility. 

Full text of today’s letter is available here and below:

July 7, 2021

 

Dear Attorney General Garland:

I urge you to ensure that the Department of Justice’s approach to ongoing detention at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay reflects the values of our nation. Indefinite detention is antithetical to the ideals of liberty that the United States of America was founded upon. Every day that the prison remains open, its existence calls into question our commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

Unfortunately, for nearly two decades, executive branch lawyers, policymakers, and the courts have continued to rationalize indefinite detention at Guantanamo with numerous legal theories and justifications. The result of this approach is that we have continued to hold dozens of men without charge, trial, and access to due process. Eleven of these men have reportedly been approved for transfer—in some cases more than a decade ago—and yet they still languish there.[1]

For years, the Department has sought to advance legal theories to justify detention until the end of a war with no definite end; the detention as “enemy combatants” of individuals who are not alleged to have taken up arms against us; and the denial of even the basic protections of due process. Further, the Department has frequently opposed the habeas petitions of detainees who are elderly, ill, or already approved for transfer.

The Department’s legal positions should reflect our nation’s commitment to liberty and the rule of law, recognizing that our nation is strongest when it adheres to its core values. Legal positions or arguments that may have once seemed justified to some in the aftermath of 9/11 must be viewed in light of current circumstances. As we approach the 20th anniversary of those attacks and the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the Department should revisit its positions and arguments regarding the continued authority to detain men without charge or trial—and without due process—at Guantanamo.

Most imminently, the Department should revisit its argument that detainees have no right to due process. For nearly two decades, our nation has failed to provide due process to detainees held at Guantanamo, resulting in the use of unreliable hearsay and coerced or torture-derived evidence and a shamefully low burden of proof for depriving men of their liberty.[2]  These inadequate standards and procedures have made it nearly impossible for detainees to prevail in litigation challenging their detention,[3] and have significantly hindered efforts to close the prison.[4] With the issue squarely before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,[5] the Department has the opportunity and the responsibility to adjust course.

In its 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court held that the Suspension Clause of the Constitution applies to Guantanamo, enabling detainees to challenge the legality of their detention through habeas corpus.[6] In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court applied its longstanding functional approach to determine the applicability of the Constitution to non-citizens outside of the United States and held that “[i]n every practical sense Guantánamo is not abroad; it is within the constant jurisdiction of the United States.”[7]

The Supreme Court did not directly rule on the applicability of the Due Process Clause to Guantanamo detainees in Boumediene, but the Court’s reasoning applies with equal force to that issue, given the close relationship between habeas and due process rights.[8] As the Court noted in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the writ of habeas corpus can be employed “as a mechanism of judicial review” and the Due Process Clause “informs the procedural contours of that mechanism in [those instances].”[9]

It is well past time for the Department to reconsider its approach to the applicability of the basic safeguards of due process to the men who remain imprisoned without charge or trial at Guantanamo, as well as other positions that help perpetuate this moral stain on our nation.

Sincerely,

-30-



[2] Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, Ali v. Biden, No. 20-888 (U.S. Dec. 28, 2020).

[3] Id. at 22-24.

[5] Order, Al-Hela v. Biden, No. 19-5079 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 23, 2021).

[6] Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 771 (2008).

[7] Id. at 768-69. 

[8] Hafetz, supra note 4.

[9] Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 525 (2004).