Coalition Letter sent to Representatives Berman and Delahunt re: CLRA

June 16, 2004
Letter sent to Representatives Berman and Delahunt upon introduction of the Civil Liberties Restoration Act (CLRA) of 2004

MS Word version available here.

June 16, 2004

Dear Representatives:

The undersigned organizations write to express our support for the Civil Liberties Restoration Act (CLRA) of 2004. Our organizations represent a diverse and growing movement in communities nationwide who believe that the United States can meet new security demands while preserving fundamental liberties and American values of fairness and equal treatment for all. Although we differ in our missions and mandates, we come together around these principles to endorse this important legislation.

Many of the actions taken by Congress, the Administration, and law enforcement in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks represent reasonable responses to the terrorist threat. However, other measures violated basic liberties. For example, after September 11th, hundreds of Arab and Muslim immigrants with no connection to terrorism were arrested and detained for weeks and months. The jailed individuals’ names were withheld from the public and their deportation hearings kept secret – in short, a system of secret detention that fosters abuse. A Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General report subsequently confirmed that many were held for prolonged periods without charge; that the DOJ adopted a policy of denying bond to every detainee without any evidence of connections to terrorism or risk of flight; that many were denied access to a lawyer and held in excessively harsh conditions; and that some were physically and verbally abused by prison guards.

These and other measures do not enhance national security; rather, they violate our tradition of due process, alienate immigrant communities, and undermine U.S. efforts to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law abroad. The CLRA will help protect core values at home while demonstrating to the world that the United States takes seriously the rights of people it detains. The CLRA will:

  • End the government’s ability to issue a blanket order closing all deportation hearings to the public and to family members of detainees, while permitting the closure of hearings or a portion of hearings on a case-by-case basis to preserve the confidentiality of asylum applications or when national security interests so require.
  • Provide minimum due process safeguards to individuals who are jailed on suspicion of immigration violations by giving them timely notice of the charges against them and assure that immigration authorities and judges make fair, individualized bond determinations.
  • Establish an independent immigration court within the Department of Justice and promote fair hearings by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
  • Facilitate better law enforcement practices by requiring that the National Crime Information Center database relied upon daily by state and local law enforcement complies with minimum accuracy requirements.
  • Terminate the troubled National Security Entry-Exit Registration System while encouraging fairness and a concentrated focus on those who pose a threat to the national security or safety of Americans.
  • Assign reasonable penalties, commensurate to the technical nature of the violations, for non-citizens’ failure to register or provide timely notification of address changes.
  • Ensure that people who are charged with a crime based upon national security surveillance will see the evidence against them in the same manner as people charged with a crime based upon other kinds of classified information.
  • Require the government to submit a public report to Congress on data-mining activities in order to protect the privacy and due process rights of individuals and to ensure accurate information is collected and used.
  • Amend the USA PATRIOT Act to limit the secret seizure of private databases and individual records to cases where the government has shown there is a reasonable connection to a suspected terrorist or terrorist group.

    The CLRA promotes the integrity of the American system of justice and reaffirms our commitment to core constitutional values. The CLRA moves the United States forward at this important time with a clear understanding that upholding basic rights and the rule of law is essential to our long-term success in countering terrorism and creating a safer and more stable world. We commend your leadership in introducing this critical piece of legislation and look forward to working with you in moving this measure to enactment.


    National Organizations
    605 Citizenship Project
    American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
    American Civil Liberties Union
    Alliance For Justice
    American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
    American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
    American Library Association
    American Muslim Council
    American Muslim Voice
    American Voices Abroad (AVA)
    Americans for Religious Liberty (ARL)
    Amnesty International USA
    Arab American Institute (AAI)
    Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
    Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
    Asian Law Caucus
    Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA)
    Association of Research Libraries
    Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC)
    Center for American Progress
    Center for Constitutional Rights
    Center for Democracy & Technology
    Center for National Security Studies
    Code Pink Women for Peace
    Consumer Action
    Council on American-Islamic Relations
    Freedom of Information Center
    Freedom to Read Foundation (sister organization to the American Library Association)
    Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
    Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
    Hmong National Development, Inc. (HND)
    Homeland Democracy
    Human Rights First
    Human Rights Watch
    Immigrant Legal Resource Center
    Indian American Center for Political Awareness
    Interfaith Alliance
    International Association of Educators for World Peace (U.S. Branch)
    Japanese American Citizens League
    Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
    Korean American Coalition
    Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
    Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)
    Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
    Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
    The Multiracial Activist (TMA)
    National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
    National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
    National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
    National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (NCAPACD)
    National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
    National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)
    National Immigration Forum
    National Immigration Law Center
    National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
    National Lawyers Guild
    National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
    National Writers Union/UAW L.U. 1981
    Open Society Institute
    Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC)
    PeaceRoots Alliance
    People For the American Way
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    Privacy Activism
    Rhetoricians for Peace
    Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC
    Sikh Coalition
    Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force (SMART)
    Society of American Law Teachers
    South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT)
    Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUAC)
    Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
    United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

    Local Organizations
    Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Albuquerque, New Mexico
    American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter, Anaheim, California
    American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, Denver, Colorado
    American Civil Liberties Union — Douglas County Chapter, Lawrence, Kansas
    American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Austin, Texas
    Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Dearborn, Michigan
    Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
    Big Sky Civil Liberties Committee, Montana
    Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Bastrop County, Texas
    Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Benton County, Corvallis, Oregon
    Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Conway, Massachusetts
    Blazing Ballerina Productions, Brooklyn, New York
    Brazilian Immigrant Center, Allston, Massachusetts
    Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, North Brunswick, New Jersey
    Coalition Against War and Injustice (CAWI), Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
    Concord (Massachusetts) Civil Liberties Committee, Concord, Massachusetts
    Council of Pakistan Organizations (COPO), Brooklyn, New York
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, Arizona Chapter (CAIR-AZ), Phoenix, Arizona
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, Florida Chapter (CAIR-Florida), Davie, Florida
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, Michigan Chapter (CAIR-Michigan), Southfield, Michigan
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, New Jersey Chapter (CAIR-NJ), New Jersey
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York Chapter (CAIR-NY), New York, New York
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ohio Chapter (CAIR-OH), Columbus, Ohio
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Antonio, Texas Chapter, San Antonio, Texas
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Diego, California (CAIR-San Diego), San Diego, California
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (CAIR, SFBA), San Francisco, California
    Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California Chapter (CAIR-LA), Anaheim, California
    Dharma Megha, Okemos, Michigan
    Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Durham, North Carolina
    East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), Oakland, California
    Estes Valley Multicultural Connections/Las Conexiones Multiculturales, Estes Park, Colorado
    Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Miami, Florida
    Guilderland Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Guilderland, New York
    Hate Free Zone Washington, Seattle, Washington
    Human Rights, Education and Law Project Inc.. (HELP), Newark, New Jersey
    Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Chicago, Illinois
    Idaho Patriots, Boise, Idaho
    Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Chicago, Illinois
    Illinois Single Pagans, Aurora, Illinois
    Immigrant Initiatives, CUNY School of Law, Flushing, New York
    India Foundation Inc., East Lansing, Michigan
    Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, San Francisco, California
    International Service Society, Okemos, Michigan
    Japanese American Services of the East Bay (JASEB), Berkeley, California
    Korean American Resource & Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois
    Korean Resource Center, Los Angeles, California
    Libertarian Party of San Joaquin County, California
    Littletonians for Civil Liberties (LCL), Littleton, Massachusetts
    The Lorax Society, Tulare, California
    Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center, Chicago, Illinois
    Na Loio – Immigrant Rights and Public Interest Legal Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
    New York Immigration Coalition, New York, New York
    Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Seattle, Washington
    Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, Cornelius, Oregon
    Peace Action WI, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Port Orford Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Port Orford, Oregon
    Rights for All People/Derechos Para Todos, Denver, Colorado
    Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, Colorado
    Sakhi for South Asian Women, New York, New York
    Save Our Rights Coalition of the Tri-Valley (SAVOR), Tri-Valley, California
    Seva International, East Lansing, Michigan
    South Asian Network (SAN), Artesia, California
    Strength Through Peace, Fort Collins, Colorado
    Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Nashville, Tennessee
    Texas Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, San Antonio, Texas
    Thai Community Development Center, Hollywood, California
    University Peace Initiative (UPI), Honolulu, Hawaii
    Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Lansing, Michigan
    Vedanta Society of East Lansing, East Lansing, Michigan
    Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project, Seattle, Washington
    Washington Watch Inc. Lansing, Michigan
    Women For: Orange County, Irvine, California
    Worldview, Ltd., Peterborough, New Hampshire
    YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community, New York

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