Press Releases

CAIR Action Alert: Urge Congress to Reject DOJ’s ‘Emergency Plan’ to Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Trial During Coronavirus Outbreak

  • DOJ is asking Congress for new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic
  • DOJ wants authority to ask chief judges to detain people without trial during emergencies
  • DOJ proposal would also allow judges to halt trial proceedings
  • Under DOJ’s plan Americans could be arrested and never brought before a judge

(WASHINGTON, DC., 3/23/20) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on every American to contact their members of Congress and urge them to reject the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) unconstitutional request for new emergency powers that would permit the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial — among other draconian requests — according to documents obtained by Politico and CNN over the weekend.


In a statement by CAIR National Litigation and Civil Rights Director Lena Masri, Esq.:

“Our Constitution is a strength, not a weakness in confronting this global pandemic. CAIR stands ready to challenge any effort by the Trump administration to exploit fear in order to diminish our constitutional rights. Enacting any one of these unconstitutional emergency powers would be a direct assault on the fundamental rights, democratic values and principles that Americans hold dear.”

According to Politico, the DOJ is requesting Congress enact legislation that would:

  • Grant the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during “emergencies”
  • Grant “the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings ‘whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.’”
  • Grant “those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies” and would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert McCaw, 202-999-8292,