During the extant “War on Terror,” U.S. and foreign nationals who did not engage in hostilities were detained and mistreated abroad by the United States or by other countries with the acquiescence of the United States. These individuals were accused of being terrorists or were suspected of associating with terror groups, but they were, in fact, innocent. They were eventually released and were never charged by the United States with any crime. Despite their innocence, the United States has failed to provide them with any form of redress for their mistreatment. The Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations refused to apologize or provide any reparations to these individuals. The federal courts have consistently dismissed their efforts to seek redress through legal process. And, to date, Congress has remained silent.
To remedy these acts of injustice, this Article offers a legislative proposal based on the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which Congress adopted to address the discrimination and detention of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Based on this historical analog, this Article proposes the adoption of the Civil Redress and Historical Memory Act of 2029, which would establish a commission of inquiry to investigate these cases of arbitrary detention and mistreatment perpetrated by the United States during the War on Terror. The Act would offer an apology and provide restitution to individuals who were wrongfully detained and mistreated by the United States or by other countries with U.S. complicity during the War on Terror. The Act would also establish a public education program that would publicize the commission’s findings and promote awareness of human rights in the United States and abroad.
William J. Aceves,
The Civil Redress and Historical Memory Acts of 2029: A Legislative Proposal,
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/fs/244