< Back to H.R. 1778 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)

Text of Jacob’s Law of 2013

This bill was introduced on April 26, 2013, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Apr 26, 2013 (Introduced).

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1778

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 26, 2013

(for himself andMs. Velázquez) introduced the following bill; which was referred to theCommittee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on theJudiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To mandate training of members of the Foreign Service to protect the rights of United States citizens in the custody of foreign governments, to deny entry into the United States of officials of any foreign government, including their immediate family members, who commit or who fail to rectify fundamental due process and human rights violations of United States citizens in the custody of a foreign government, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Justice for Imprisoned Americans Overseas Act of 2013 or the Jacob’s Law of 2013 .

2.

Findings; Sense of Congress

(a)

Findings

Congressfinds the following:

(1)

The President is required under section 2001 of the Revised Statutes of the United States(22 U.S.C. 1732)to demand the release of any citizen who has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, and to undertake appropriate means to obtain the release of such citizen.

(2)

In a statement submitted to theCommittee on the Judiciary of the Senateon July 27, 2011, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that[t]he State Department has no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas—particularly when Americans find themselves in the custody of a foreign government, facing an unfamiliar, and at times unfair, legal system..

(3)

Some United States citizens in the custody of a foreign government have been and continue to be denied fundamental due process and human rights under both local and international law by foreign government officials.

(4)

Mr. Jacob Ostreicher, who was detained in the notorious Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, from June 4, 2011, until December 18, 2012, and was subsequently placed under house arrest, is one of the United States citizens who currently is enduring multiple, egregious, and continuous violations of his fundamental due process and human rights under both local and international law.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense ofCongressthat foreign government officials responsible for violations of fundamental due process and human rights of United States citizens in the custody of a foreign government, as well as immediate family members of such officials, should not have the privilege of traveling to the United States while such violations are occurring.

3.

Department of State protection of United States citizens abroad

(a)

Training for Foreign Service officers

Subsection (a) of section 703 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980(22 U.S.C. 4023)is amended—

(1)

in the first sentence, by strikingThe Secretaryand inserting (1) The Secretary; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(2)

The professional development program referred to inparagraph (1)shall include the following:

(A)

The protocol that members of the Service are to follow to protect the human rights and due process rights of United States citizens who are in the custody of a foreign government and who have notified the Department of State that one or more of such rights is being violated.

(B)

Information relating to the international human rights that may be relevant in the case of a United States citizen described inparagraph (1), including the right of an individual charged with a criminal offense to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law as stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(C)

The means by which a member of the Service assigned to a new post in a foreign country will be informed of the legal rights of a United States citizen who is in the custody of the government of such country pursuant to the laws of such country.

.

(b)

Report to Congress

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, theSecretary of Stateshall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes the implementation of the new requirements of the professional development program required underparagraph (2) of subsection (a) of section 703 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as added bysubsection (a)(2) of this section.

4.

Denial of entry into the United States of certain foreign government officials

(a)

Denial of entry

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, theSecretary of Statemay not issue any visa to, and theSecretary of Homeland Securityshall deny entry to the United States of, any foreign government official identified pursuant tosubsection (d)(1)(C)or any immediate family members of such official.

(b)

Permanent ban

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if any United States citizen identified pursuant tosubsection (d)(1)(A)dies from any cause while in the custody of a foreign government, the government officials identified pursuant tosubsection (d)(1)(C)in relation to such citizen and the immediate family members of such officials may not be issued any visa by theSecretary of State, and may not be admitted by theSecretary of Homeland Security, to the United States at any time on or after the date of the death of such citizen.

(c)

Current visas revoked

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, theSecretary of Stateshall revoke, in accordance with section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act( 8 U.S.C. 1201(i) ), the visa or other documentation of any alien who would be ineligible to receive such a visa or documentation undersubsection (a)or(b) of this section.

(d)

Designation of inadmissible foreign officials

(1)

Report to Congress

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and every 180 days thereafter for five years, theSecretary of Stateshall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that contains the following:

(A)

An identification of United States citizens who are in the custody of a foreign government and whose fundamental due process or human rights pursuant to the laws of such government or international standards binding on such government are being violated.

(B)

An identification of the fundamental due process or human rights violations that are being committed against the citizens identified insubparagraph (A).

(C)

A list of the government officials who, based on credible information, are responsible for the violations of, or are failing to fulfill their official responsibility to protect, the rights identified insubparagraph (B)of any citizen identified insubparagraph (A).

(2)

Additional reporting requirement

In the case of each semi-annual report required underparagraph (1), theSecretary of Stateshall include a list of the names and titles of those government officials identified insubparagraph (C)of such paragraph, and the names and relationships of the immediate family members of such officials who were denied a visa or entry to the United States pursuant tosubsection (a)or(b), or whose visa was revoked pursuant tosubsection (c), during the immediately preceding 180-day period.

(3)

Form

Each report required underparagraph (1)shall be submitted in unclassified form.

(4)

Exception for classified annex

The name of a person to be included in each report required underparagraph (1)may be submitted in a classified annex only if thePresident

(A)

determines that it is in the best interest of a United States citizen identified pursuant tosubparagraph (A)of such paragraph, or that it is vital for the national security interests of the United States to do so;

(B)

uses the annex in such a manner consistent with congressional intent and the purposes of this Act; and

(C)

15 days before submitting the name in a classified annex, provides to the appropriate congressional committees notice of, and a justification for, including or continuing to include each person in such a classified annex despite any publicly available credible information indicating that the government official concerned is responsible for the violations of, or is failing to fulfill an official responsibility to protect, the rights of a United States citizen identified insubparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).

(5)

Public availability

The unclassified portion of the report required underparagraph (1)shall be made available to the public and published in the Federal Register.

(e)

Removal from report designation

A government official may be removed from the lists required undersubsection (d)(1)(C)if thePresidentdetermines and reports to the appropriate congressional committees not less than 15 days before the removal from any such list of such governmental official that—

(1)

credible information exists that such government official is not responsible for the violations of, or is fulfilling any official responsibility to protect, the rights identified insubsection (d)(1)(B)of any United States citizen identified insubsection (d)(1)(A)who is in the custody of a foreign government; or

(2)

such citizen has been released.

(f)

Requests by Chairpersons and Ranking Members of appropriate congressional committees

(1)

In general

Not later than 120 days after receiving a written request from the chairperson and ranking member of one of the appropriate congressional committees with respect to whether a person meets the criteria for being included on the list required undersubsection (d)(1)(C), thePresidentshall transmit a response to the chairperson and ranking member of the committee which made the request with respect to the status of such person.

(2)

Form

ThePresidentmay submit a response required underparagraph (1)in classified form if thePresidentdetermines that it is in the best interest of a United States citizen identified pursuant tosubsection (d)(1)(A), or that it is necessary for the national security interests of the United States to do so.

(3)

Removal

If thePresidentremoves from the list required undersubsection (d)(1)(C)a person who has been included on such list at the request of the chairperson and ranking member of one of the appropriate congressional committees, thePresidentshall provide the chairperson and ranking member with any information that contributed to such removal decision. ThePresidentmay transmit such information in classified form if thePresidentdetermines that such is in the best interest of a United States citizen identified pursuant tosubsection (d)(1)(A), or that it is in the national security interests of the United States.

(g)

Nonapplicability of confidentiality requirement with respect to visa records

ThePresidentshall publish the list required undersubsection (d)(1)(C)without regard to the requirements of section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act( 8 U.S.C. 1202(f) )with respect to confidentiality of records pertaining to the issuance or refusal of visas or permits to enter the United States.

5.

Prohibition on certain foreign assistance

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no assistance may be provided to an agency, instrumentality, or other entity of a foreign government that, based on credible information, is responsible for the violation of, or is failing to fulfill a responsibility to protect, the rights identified insection 4(d)(1)(B)of a United States citizen identified insection 4(d)(1)(A).

6.

Embassy website postings

It is the sense ofCongressthat the website of the lead United States diplomatic or consular mission located in a country where a United States citizen identified insection 4(d)(1)(A)is in the custody of a foreign government should—

(1)

prominently indicate that the fundamental due process or human rights of such citizen in the custody of the government of such country are being violated, and

(2)

provide sufficient details about the case of such citizen to alert other United States citizens of the potential dangers of visiting such country.

7.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate congressional committees

The termappropriate congressional committeesmeans theCommittee on Foreign Affairsand theCommittee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, and theCommittee on Foreign Relationsand theCommittee on the Judiciary of the Senate.

(2)

Immediate family members

The termimmediate family membersmeans a spouse, daughter or son regardless of age, parent, brother, sister, and fiancé or fiancée.

(3)

International standards

The terminternational standardsmeans standards specified in international agreements to which the country concerned is a party, taking into account any applicable reservations.

(4)

In the custody of a foreign government

The termin the custody of a foreign governmentmeans to be incarcerated, under house arrest, or otherwise deprived of one’s liberty, including through the refusal of permission to leave the country concerned, by the government of such country.