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ACLU Ready to Defend Against Trump's "One-Man Constitutional Crisis"

'Taken together, his statements and policy proposals would blatantly violate the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, federal and international law, and the basic norms of a free and decent society.'

Donald Trump's presidential campaign "has exposed an ugly undercurrent of intolerance and ignorance that the ACLU has been fighting for years," the rights group warns. (Photo: ACLU/The Trump Memos)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is readying for "an all-hands-on-deck moment" should presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—a "one-man constitutional crisis," according to the rights group—be elected to the White House. 

Trump's policy proposals, including pledges to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrants; to ban Muslims from entering the United States; to surveil American Muslims and their houses of worship; to bring back waterboarding and other forms of torture; and to expand libel laws in order to sue media outlets "and win money," would violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments, according to ACLU executive director Anthony Romero on Thursday.

For example, Romero wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post:

On immigration policy, there is simply no way a Trump administration could deport more than 11 million people within two years of taking office. To achieve such a feat, Trump's deportation machine would have to arrest 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The only way to accomplish this would be to shred the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. To carry out such an order, immigration agents would have to engage in suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids in immigrant neighborhoods. There can be little doubt that agents would rely on racial profiling and target people of Latino and Hispanic descent disproportionately, violating their right to equal protection under the law regardless of their race or national origin.


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"Taken together, his statements and policy proposals would blatantly violate the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, federal and international law, and the basic norms of a free and decent society," Romero added in a post at Medium.

Romero's claims are backed up by the 27-page Trump Memos (pdf), a legal analysis of some of the real estate tycoon's most egregious proposals.

Along with the op-ed and Trump Memos, the ACLU also launched on Thursday a petition that reads: "I pledge to speak up, stand up, call out, and hold elected officials and candidates accountable to the Constitution. Trying to win an election is no excuse to disregard or dismiss the Bill of Rights."

The ACLU's analysis comes on the heels of a report from the Sierra Club earlier this week, which warned that Trump's "failure to acknowledge basic climate science wouldn't just leave him isolated on the world stage as President, it would undermine our relationships with key allies and threaten our ability to work effectively internationally."

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