For one Washington State lawmaker, indefinite detention is personal

Hasegawa said he often runs into the “it could never happen to me” mentality.

“That makes me think of that German priest’s quote about Nazi Germany. What was his name? He said, ‘There was nobody to speak up for me …’”

The quote Hasegawa references is attributed to Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller.

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

With his family’s experience motivating him, Hasegawa decided he needed to step up and speak for any future victims of unjust federal force. On February 1, he filed SB 5511 in the Washington Senate. The bill condemns the sections of the NDAA that allow for indefinite detention without due process as unconstitutional and includes provisions blocking any such attempts in the Evergreen State. It forbids state officials from cooperating with federal indefinite detention efforts and provides criminal penalties for anyone who tries.

Republican Representative Jason Overstreet sponsored similar legislation in 2012 and filed a House companion bill this session. Overstreet reached out to Hasegawa after learning about his family’s internment during a “day of remembrance” in the Washington House last year. Hasegawa said he’s happy that they can work together and form a coalition to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Republican Matt Shea signed on as a cosponsor to HB 1581. He said he considered it an obligation.

“Indefinite detention means that due process is dead,” Shea said. “State legislators must defend against federal overreach. It is our duty. The oath we take in accordance with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution requires nothing less.”

Washington joins 13 other states considering bills to block NDAA detention within their borders. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed a similar bill into law last year and more than 16 local and county governments have passed resolutions condemning detention without due process.

Mike Maharrey serves as the national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He is also the author of Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You may contact Mike at: [email protected]tenthamendmentcenter.com.