Civil Liberties  
comments_image Comments

10 Shameful Ways America Abuses Its Own Citizens

Land of the free? More like home of the exploited.

Continued from previous page


In addition, sexual violence against women and inadequate investigations into rapes remains particularly disconcerting. Only 30 percent of rape survivors report incidents of sexual assault to police in the United States, but even reported cases are not adequately investigated. Last week, it came to light that there are  400,000 unprocessed rape-kits in the United States that have sat in storage for years without being tested, leaving many to wonder whether rape really is a crime without consequences in the U.S.

9. National security and surveillance. The NSA surveillance program came under harsh criticism last year for violating fundamental civil and political rights including the right to privacy after whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked confidential documents showing that the United States and other countries had engaged in global data interception techniques.

Counterterrorism policies also remain questionable with the United States holding at least 154 detainees indefinitely without charge at Guantanamo Bay as the facility enters its 12th year of operation. Adding fuel to the fire, a U.S. federal court refused to stop the practice of force-feeding detainees last week, a practice that violates fundamental medical ethics and constitutes ill treatment. 

Finally, the shroud of secrecy surrounding Obama’s targeted killings abroad without providing any legal justification remains a key concern, particularly the lack of accountability relating to drone policy and strike attacks that have been found to be in breach of international humanitarian law. 

10. Rights of non-citizens. There are approximately 25 million non-citizens in the United States with at least 10 million in the country without legal authorization. Up to 400,000 non-citizens are held in over 250 immigration detention facilities across the country despite many having no criminal history and strong ties to the United States such as a family member. In 2013, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported almost 370,000 non-citizens, with Illegal reentry the most prosecuted federal crime. HRW documented a high number of detainees subject to chaotic and frequent transfers between facilities hampering their access to due process and intensifying general distrust of authority in immigrant communities. 

Republicans across the United States continue to reject immigration law reform and are  fighting hard against immigration polices that impact on the rights of unauthorized immigrants including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.DACA suspends deportations of those brought to the United States as children who are over 30 years of age and have lived in the country for five years.

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.