The preservation of our civil rights and civil liberties is essential to the health of our democracy, particularly when they are threatened in the name of national security or patriotism. We must not lose our essential rights. They are what makes this country great. Everyone living in the US, regardless of citizenship status, must receive equal treatment under the law. All people, both citizens and non-citizens alike, are entitled to the following essential civil rights and liberties:
- Right to a fair public trial, including competent counsel, a fair bond, an impartial jury, knowledge of charges, and presumption of innocence.
- Right to privacy and freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures, including secret surveillance of phone and internet usage, and investigation of medical, financial, and library records.
- Freedom from arbitrary and indefinite detention and arbitrary and unfair deportation.
- Freedom from cruel and abusive treatment and punishment, including so-called 'alternative interrogation techniques', humiliating and degrading treatment, and torture as defined by international law.
- Freedom of speech and assembly, including the right to dissent without fear of government spying or intimidation.
- Freedom from discriminatory treatment based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or political beliefs.
Since 9-11, the government has passed numerous laws infringing on the civil rights of non-citizens beginning with the US Patriot Act which severely limited the privacy and due process rights of immigrants.
We must persistently seek new solutions to make America safer without diminishing our fundamental freedoms. The United States' efforts to protect the nation are best served by laws that also protect the fundamental human rights of all who live here. Now, more than ever, we need to have the courage to stand up for our values of liberty, democracy, and justice for all.
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