In a radical attack on the due-process rights of Americans that received virtually no media attention, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to give the Obama administration the unilateral power to strip you of your passport and right to travel without a trial or even criminal charges. The scheme does not even include a way to challenge your status as a non-person involuntarily trapped inside U.S. borders on orders from the secretary of state. Lawmakers, some of whom could themselves be caught in the dragnet along with myriad administration officials, praised the effort as a way to stop alleged terrorists from travelling. But critics said it was yet another attack on the fundamental rights of Americans, such as due-process protections, and that it must be resisted.
As if to illustrate how out of touch with the U.S. Constitution most members of Congress have become, the legislation, HR 237, also known as “FTO (foreign terrorist organization) Passport Revocation Act,” did not even receive a recorded vote — supposedly because it was so “uncontroversial.” It passed after 15 minutes of alleged “debate.” Bill sponsor Ted Poe (R-Texas) claimed the measure, adopted under a “suspension of the rules” typically used for trivialities such as renaming post offices, was passed unanimously. Of course, in an age in which the White House openly claims the unilateral authority to murder or indefinitely detain American citizens without even charging them with a crime, passport revocations likely seem trivial by comparison. But opponents of the measure said it was a big deal nonetheless.
Under the bill, “the Secretary of State may refuse to issue a passport to any individual whom the Secretary has determined has aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped an organization the Secretary has designated as a foreign terrorist organization,” the text states. “The Secretary of State may revoke a passport previously issued to any individual” whom Secretary of State John Kerry, or future administrations that could be even more radical, unilaterally decides may have done any of those things. The terms are left undefined, opening up widespread potential for abuse, and there is no appeals process outlined in the legislation.
In essence, if approved by the Senate and signed into law by Obama, one man — far-left radical Kerry, for now — would have the power to strip you of your unalienable, God-given rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Under the measure, individuals targeted by Kerry or his successors would have no right to due-process of law — no trial by jury, no chance to contest the findings in open court (or anywhere else), no right to be presumed innocent before proven guilty, not even a right to see the accusations. Indeed, even actual criminal charges are unnecessary under the scheme for somebody to be permanently trapped in or out of the United States based on secret evidence, with no mechanism to appeal.