Letter to the House Urging Opposition to H.R. 3164, the "Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act"

Document Date: November 2, 1999

URGENT: OPPOSE H.R. 3164 Scheduled for a Suspension Vote This Afternoon

Dear Representative,

We urge you to oppose H.R. 3164 the “Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.” This bill threatens the rights of American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals. It gives the executive unbridled power to designate “foreign” persons as narcotics traffickers and seize their assets without any recourse. It also imposes criminal and civil penalties on anyone who engages in a financial transaction involving those assets, even if the person was unaware of the designation.

A Person Can Unknowingly Violate this Act

The bill permits the secret designation of a narcotics trafficker then prohibits transactions with such persons regardless of whether the designation is made public. A civil penalty of up to $1,000,000 could be imposed based on secret information that a person cannot know. Severe criminal penalties of up to 30 years in jail and a $10,000,000 fine can be imposed by persons who knowingly violate the act or are “willfully negligent” in following it.

The Bill Bars Judicial Review

Persons whose assets are frozen in error have no recourse to have the decision to freeze their assets reviewed. This makes it impossible for an American to get into court to prove that he or she is not a person whose assets can be frozen.

The Bill Attacks Family Members for the Acts of Their Parents

The bill goes so far as to say that the sons and daughters of a person designated could be removed from the United States because they were inadmissible by virtue of their parents acts. Under the bill, if the Attorney General has “reason to believe” that the children or spouse “reasonably should have known” that their family members had trafficked in drugs, they are inadmissible. Family members can be deported if at the time of entry into the country they were inadmissible under this bill, even if the designation had not been made public.

This bill poses grave concerns for due process rights. Please vote against it.


Laura W. Murphy