Schiff Detainee Measure Passes Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – A measure requiring the Attorney General to regularly report to Congress on the status of U.S. citizens detained by the federal government passed Congress as part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Reauthorization Bill.  Schiff originally introduced the measure as an amendment to the DOJ Reauthorization bill in September 2003. The same measure passed the full House in the last Congress but failed to become law when the DOJ Reauthorization bill was stalled in the Senate.  This measure is on track to be the first detainee language signed into law by President Bush

The Schiff measure requires a report from the Attorney General at least once a year detailing 1) How many U.S. citizens and residents are currently detained and 2) What standards the Department of Justice uses to designate someone as an enemy combatant.

Schiff has led House efforts to establish policies governing the detention of enemy combatants during the war on terror.  He first introduced legislation setting out the rules for military tribunals over three years ago, and in March he reintroduced the “Detention of Enemy Combatants Act,” a bill that provides access to legal counsel and judicial review for U.S. citizens and residents detained as enemy combatants.  Schiff also introduced the first comprehensive bill that provides a legal framework to process detainees in Guantanamo Bay in June (H.R. 3038).

Congressman Schiff is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security.  He is a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees.  He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.