Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Protect Privacy And Civil Liberties, Says ACLU

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Claire O’Brien, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Protect Privacy And Civil Liberties, Says ACLU

WASHINGTON - Rep.
Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) will join with other House Democrats this
afternoon to outline priorities for comprehensive immigration reform
legislation. The American Civil Liberties Union applauds Congress’s
efforts to overhaul the broken immigration system and urges leaders in
Washington to work for legislation that does not sacrifice civil
liberties and personal privacy.

 
“The
ACLU is encouraged by the willingness of congressional leaders to lay
out details of immigration reform, but we strongly oppose any reforms
that would unnecessarily violate the privacy of Americans,” said
Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington
Legislative Office. “We urge lawmakers to reject any proposed
immigration reform measures that include a biometric national worker ID
system or a universal compulsory electronic employment verification
system. These systems come at enormous cost to the American public and
do little to prevent the hiring of undocumented workers. It is
unacceptable to force Americans to be fingerprinted and photographed in
order to work.”
 
The
ACLU also calls on members of Congress to reject any legislation that
gives state and local authorities a role in enforcing federal civil
immigration laws. 287(g) agreements between the federal government and
state and local law enforcement have led to racial and ethnic profiling
across the country. Such agreements undermine effective law
enforcement, creating an environment of fear that discourages immigrant
communities from cooperating with the police. Cities and states cannot
be allowed to supersede national immigration policy by enacting their
own laws targeting immigrant communities.
 
Immigration
reform legislation must also address due process failures embodied in
current immigration law. Congress should pass provisions that end
prolonged detention of people who pose no risk or danger; restore
discretion so immigration judges can consider U.S. citizen children and
spouses when rendering deportation decisions; and repeal summary
procedures that deny fair immigration hearings.
 
“Comprehensive
immigration reform must ensure American core values of due process and
equal protection under the law, affording people the right to go to the
federal courts to enforce the law and the Constitution,” said Joanne
Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel. “The power of courts to review the
practices and policies governing implementation of legalization is
essential to upholding fundamental rights, enforcing the Constitution,
ensuring the rule of law and preventing bureaucratic abuses.”
 
To see the ACLU’s statement on the necessary elements of meaningful immigration reform, see: www.aclu.org/immigrants/gen/40043res20090625.html
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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