The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666;

President Obama Emphasizes Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform That Respects Civil Rights


In a speech at American University today,
President Obama emphasized the need for federal immigration reform that
respects the civil rights of those in this country. The American Civil
Liberties Union strongly supports responsible reforms to U.S.
immigration policy and calls on political leaders to ensure that any
legislation protects the civil rights, civil liberties and human rights
of everyone in the United States, regardless of his or her immigration

The following can
be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

"We commend President Obama for
recognizing the need to reform our immigration system on the federal
level rather than allow a patchwork of state and local laws that lead to
the violation of civil rights and alienation of communities from law
enforcement. The recently enacted Arizona law, which the ACLU and others
are challenging in court, is a prime example of misguided laws that
inevitably lead to egregious racial profiling and discrimination. We
urge the Obama administration to bring a federal challenge to the
Arizona law through litigation as soon as possible and to take all
actions in its power to prevent the law's implementation.

"President Obama is also correct that
heavy border security is not a singular answer to addressing
immigration issues. Expanded border enforcement could cause more civil
liberties abuses in U.S. communities on the southwest border. Any border
enforcement must be conducted in a constitutional manner with strict
accountability and oversight to avoid abuse.

"Expanding E-Verify, an electronic
employment verification program promoted by the president today, is not
an answer but would lead to discrimination, burden American workers and
deny employment to authorized workers.

"We encourage President Obama to work
with Congress to implement immigration policies that respect the
Constitution and the civil liberties of all within our borders."

The ACLU's statement on the necessary
elements of meaningful immigration reform is available at:

More information about the ACLU's
lawsuit, including information on co-counsel and plaintiffs, can be
found at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666