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Submission + - Bill allows government to revoke Americans' passports without charges or trial->

schwit1 writes: A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would allow the government to restrict Americans' travel through the revocation of passports based upon mere suspicions of unscrupulous activity. This bill represents another dangerous step forward in the war on terror and the disintegration of American due process.

H.R. 237, the "FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) Passport Revocation Act of 2015," will allow the U.S. Secretary of State the unchecked authority to prohibit individuals from traveling internationally. According to the bill, the Secretary may unilaterally revoke (or refuse to issue) a passport from "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 pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189)."

The bill did not bother to define what the terms "aided, assisted, abetted, or otherwise helped" actually mean, in legal terms. The power has been left open-ended so that it can mean whatever the secretary wants it to mean. Needless to say, a bill like this would be easily abused.

The travel restriction requires no presumption of innocence for the targeted individual; no explanation; no public presentation of evidence; no opportunity for a defense; no checks and balances on the power. The bill does not outline any appeals process for the targeted individual. The only stipulation is that the Secretary of State must issue a report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs — "classified or unclassified." The bill does not state that either committee can reverse the secretary's decisions.

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