(NaturalNews) A states' rights organization says a group of lawmakers in Washington state are considering bipartisan legislation that would block any attempt by the federal government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens or lawful resident aliens without providing them their Fifth Amendment due process rights, under sections of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
If passed, according to a press release from the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government, the Washington law would make it a Class C felony for any state or federal agent to act under Sects. 1021 or 1022 of the act.
A House version of the bill (HB 1581) was filed Jan. 31 by state Rep. Jason Overstreet, a Republican. State Sen. Bob Hasegawa, a Seattle Democrat, filed a companion bill (SB 5511) Feb. 1. Both pieces of legislation condemn sections of the NDAA that allow for the indefinite detention of Americans and legal aliens on U.S. soil without due process as an unconstitutional act:
No state or local official or employee, or agent of the state of Washington, or employee of a corporation providing services to the state of Washington, or member of the national guard or state defense forces acting in his or her capacity as a state or local official or employee, or agent of the state of Washington, or employee of a corporation providing services to the state of Washington, or member of the national guard or state defense forces, shall knowingly cooperate 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.
For Hasegawa, whose parents are Japanese, the issue is more than a constitutional one; it's very personal.
"On Feb. 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that allowed the incarceration of all Americans of Japanese descent," he said. "As a result, my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, basically my entire family and their community, spent over three years in horse stalls at the Puyallup Fair and in barrack shacks behind barbed wire and armed guards at Minidoka Internment Camp in southern Idaho, not knowing if or when they would ever get out."
Other lawmakers made their opposition known.
Rep. Matt Shea, another Republican who co-sponsored, HB 1581, said he considers it his duty to stand up for the basic civil liberties of his constituents.
"Indefinite detention means that due process is dead," he said. "State legislators must defend against federal overreach. It is our duty. The oath we take in accordance with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution requires nothing less."
Obama administration fights to keep permanent detention provisions
The Tenth Amendment Center says both bills enjoy wide bipartisan support; 21 House members have signed onto HB 1581, and three senators have signed onto the bill in that chamber.
"Once again, we see the bipartisan nature of the push-back against federal kidnapping," Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. "This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is an American issue."
The Obama administration is defending the law. In September, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that parts of the legislation were unconstitutional due to the overly broad nature of the language, but a federal appeals court judge issued a stay on that ruling, in essence restoring "the government's alleged power to kidnap people on American soil and detain them until the end of an endless war," the center said in a separate release.
Washington joins other 12 states that are considering bills to block NDAA detention within their borders. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnoll signed a similar bill into law last year.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the 2012 NDAA's "dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president - and all future presidents - to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield." The group has vowed to fight the law "wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally."