ADC & CAIR Applaud Passage of Amendment Asking the President to Evacuate U.S. Citizens from Yemen
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | May 15, 2015 - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment calling on President Obama to evacuate American citizens and nationals trapped in Yemen. The amendment was adopted as part of a larger annual defense spending bill that is expected to be approved by the House this afternoon and sent to the Senate where it will await consideration.
Sponsored by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI), Amendment 103 to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735) was passed by voice vote.
Yesterday the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee issued a joint action alert urging Congress to support the Yemen evacuation amendment as well as supporting an amendment offered to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
SEE: ACTION ALERT: Urge Congress to Pass Amendments to Evacuate U.S. Citizens from Yemen, Close Prison at Guantanamo!
ADC Legal & Policy Director, Abed Ayoub stated, “We applaud the passage of the Yemen Evacuation Amendment, and it is our hope that the Obama Administration acts immediately to evacuate the U.S. Citizens currently stuck in Yemen. Many of these citizens are losing hope, and now is the time to act. The failure of the House to take steps to close Guantanamo Bay prison is disappointing – it is our hope that the Senate take the appropriate steps on this issue.”
Jenifer Wicks, Litigation Director of Civil Rights at CAIR stated, “We filed a law suit on April 9 asking the Court to order the Department of Defense and Department of State to evacuate U.S. Citizens and are pleased to see that House representatives have passed this amendment, expressing to President Obama that he should evacuate U.S. citizens and nationals from Yemen, as acting to protect Americans abroad advances U.S. foreign policy goals. We also hope that the Senate will pass legislation allowing President Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.”
The ongoing conflict in Yemen has made it difficult for Americans to depart Yemen. Approximately 5,000 Americans, of which nearly 900 have registered with StuckInYemen.com, are unable to leave Yemen after the closure of the United States Embassy in Yemen.
In February 2015, United States citizen Jamal al-Labani was killed in Yemen after the closure of the United States Embassy while attempting to bring his pregnant wife and 2-year-daughter back to the United States.
In April 2015, ADC, CAIR and the Asian Law Caucus launched the website - StuckInYemen.com - to assist in identifying Americans who are in danger and are in need of their government’s assistance in getting to safety. In April 2015, ADC and CAIR filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter seeking government action to evacuate American citizens trapped in Yemen.
In 2006, the Department of Defense helped the Department of State remove 15,000 Americans from Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War. In 2015, many other nations, including China, Ethiopia, India, and Russia are evacuating or have evacuated their citizens from Yemen.
Background on the House’s Failure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
Offered by Representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Amendment 189 which provided a framework to close the prison at Guantanamo by December 31, 2017 failed to pass the House by a vote of 174 to 249 despite strong support from civil and human rights and faith groups.
Yesterday ADC and CAIR joined others in calling on Congress to vote no on final House passage of the NDAA as it included onerous and unwarranted transfer restrictions that would block the closing of the Guantanamo detention facility and continue the practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial.
Going forward advocates for closing the prison at Guantanamo will work to seek the Senate’s adoption of similar measures that will hopefully put an end to the prison once and for all.
TAKE ACTION: Urge Senate to Do What House Could Not, Close Prison at Guantanamo Bay
In less than a minute you can urge Congress to authorize the evacuation American citizens and nationals trapped in Yemen and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Take Action: Click here to send a letter to your Senators and Representative now!
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