ACLU Letter to the House Urging Opposition to H.R. 10, the House Leadership bill

Document Date: October 5, 2004

Re: Oppose H.R. 10, House Leadership bill.

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and its more than 400,000 members, we strongly urge you to vote against H.R. 10, which expands surveillance powers, condones torture by foreign governments, and undermines the fundamental rights of immigrants to access to the courts.

H.R. 10 will exempt any non-citizen deemed a danger to national security from the protection of the Convention Against Torture, and will deprive non-citizens in some cases of the constitutionally-protected “”Great Writ”” of habeas corpus. H.R. 10 also includes provisions that will erode the ability of those fleeing persecution to obtain asylum, and that forbid the acceptance by federal employees of foreign-issued identification cards. H.R. 10 also includes amendments that will expand powers the USA PATRIOT Act gave to law enforcement to engage in secret surveillance, and further broaden the “”guilt-by-association”” crime of material support. Congress should defer consideration of any expansions of Patriot Act powers until next year, when some provisions of the Act will come up for review.

These provisions are opposed by the 9-11 Commission and by the Family Steering Committee of 9-11 victims. In addition, the White House strongly opposes the Torture Convention provision. The Senate bill, S. 2845, does not contain these measures and their inclusion will seriously complicate efforts to reconcile the bills.

In addition, H.R. 10 would create a de facto National ID card through the backdoor by requiring states to issue driver’s licenses that meet standards dictated by the federal government, and by encouraging states to facilitate extremely broad sharing of personal information about their drivers. Despite the strong recommendation of the 9-11 Commission, it would also fail to create an independent civil liberties watchdog with government-wide reach.

We strongly urge you to vote “”no”” on H.R. 10.


Laura W. Murphy
Director, Washington Legislative Office

Timothy H. Edgar
Legislative Counsel

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