A bill introduced in the Washington state legislature would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

Introduced by Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle), SB5742 would prohibit any state or local official, or employee, including members of the Washington National Guard, or any corporation doing business on behalf of the state from “cooperating with an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the United States of America by the armed forces of the United States of America.”

This would not only prohibit state and local law enforcement agents from assisting in indefinite detention, but would also bar the feds from using state resources such as jails or prisons.

Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA purport to empower the federal government to essentially kidnap people within the United States and hold them indefinitely without trial, or even formal charges. While it would not physically stop federal agents from detaining people in Washington, this provision would deny the federal government state manpower and resources. Since the feds always depend on state and their resources to assist in with their actions, this bill would likely hinder any attempts at indefinite detention in Washington.

SB5742 takes things a step further. It also prohibits members of the U.S. armed forces from participating in indefinite detainment without due process within the borders of Washington.

Violations of the law would be punishable as a class C felony.

“It may seem radical to criminalize actions of U.S. military personnel. But some northern states did essentially the same thing in an attempt to stop fugitive slave rendition in the 1850s,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “It sounds extreme until you consider what the feds are claiming the authority to do – put a bag over your head and lock you up for as long as they want without trial or even charges. That’s the extreme here. Trying to stop it is a rational response.”

The specter of indefinite detention is quite personal to Hasegawa. The U.S. government detained his family in a detention camp during World War II for the “crime” of being Japanese.

“While they were constructing the camp, my family lived in horse stalls in the stables at the Puyallup Fairgrounds,” he said. “They were all U.S. citizens.”

The experience of Hasegawa’s family illustrates the very real threat of indefinite detention,” Maharrey said. “It not only can happen here – it has!”

Language in SB5742 strongly condemns indefinite detention without due process.

As a notion of conscience and strong principles, we cannot eviscerate the unalienable rights recognized by and protected in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Washington. Indeed, undermining those constitutional rights destroys the fabric of what has made the United States of America a republic granting the greatest number of people the greatest amount of liberty, justice, security, opportunity, prosperity, and happiness in the history of the world.

SB5742 was referred to the Senate Committee on Law and Justice.


If you live in Washington follow all the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK

If you live in another state, take action to stop indefinite detention HERE.

Mike Maharrey

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