Bipartisan efforts are few and far between these days, but finally, there seems to be one issue that House Democrats and Republicans can agree upon: no one held in US custody should be at risk for rape or sexual assault.
The incremental steps taken by the US government to reform the immigration detention system have been outmatched by the furious pace at which people have been forced through it in the last two years. With nearly 34,400 immigrants detained every night, the need for strong, binding regulations and comprehensive oversight has never been greater.
President Obama has taken a significant step in guaranteeing that the US does its part to ensure that the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons around the world are protected. In a memorandum issued today, Obama directed all federal agencies engaged in actions abroad to “ensure that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons” and outlined several specific steps to protect especially vulnerable LGBT populations.
In response to advocacy from groups like Physicians for Human Rights, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano fixed a flaw in current immigration law by creating an exemption to the material support bar for health professionals who have provided medical assistance to wounded combatants as part of their ethical and moral responsibilities.
At the recent Republican debate, the presidential candidates were asked if waterboarding is torture. Their answers were shocking, in more ways than one. Even if Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman hadn’t blown the curve, everyone else would have failed the human rights test miserably.