Category Archives: May 2011

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Employment Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2011

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Employment Law in Narrow Ruling

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld a 2007 Arizona law on employer sanctions and verification, finding that the Arizona law was expressly authorized by a provision of federal law. The decision does not apply to or address other state or local immigration laws, such as Arizona law SB 1070.

The Arizona law addressed in today’s decision imposes licensing penalties on businesses that have knowingly employed workers who are not lawfully authorized to work in the U.S., but only if the federal government confirms the lack of employment authorization. It also requires Arizona employers to participate in the federal E-Verify program. The challenge was brought by a broad coalition of civil rights and business groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the law firm of Altshuler Berzon, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

The following quotes can be attributed as stated:

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project:
“Today’s decision is a narrow one that only upholds Arizona’s specific law on employment verification. The decision has nothing to do with SB 1070 or any other state or local immigration laws. We are disappointed with today’s decision, and believe it does not reflect what Congress intended.”

Linton Joaquin, NILC’s general counsel:
“We’re deeply disappointed that the Court has allowed this law, which has proven to have serious economic ramifications for Arizona’s workers and employers, to remain in effect. However, the ruling does not grant states the right to enforce immigration law — the issue at the heart of current legal challenges to SB 1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law. State legislators considering this decision a free pass to enact and implement legislation targeting immigrants are gravely mistaken.”

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs Valle del Sol, Chicanos por la Causa and Somos America include Omar Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag and Jennifer Chang Newell of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Daniel Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona; Jonathan Weissglass and Stephen Berzon of Altshuler Berzon LLP; Valenzuela Dixon of MALDEF; and Joaquin and Karen C. Tumlin of NILC.

The decision is available at www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-115.pdf.

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NILC Files Lawsuit Challenging Indiana’s Draconian Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org
Elizabeth Beresford, (917) 498-9697 or (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org
Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana, (317) 635-4059 x104; kfalk@aclu-in.org

NILC Files Lawsuit Challenging Indiana’s Draconian Law

INDIANAPOLIS – The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the ACLU, and the law firm of Lewis & Kappes, P.C., filed a class action lawsuit today challenging a discriminatory Indiana law inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070.  The lawsuit charges the law authorizes police to make warrantless arrests of individuals based on assumed immigration status and criminalizes the mere use or acceptance of the commonly used consular ID card.  The groups charge that the law will lead to racial profiling and trample upon the rights of all Indiana residents.

“Indiana has created a law that not only tramples on the constitutional rights of Hoosiers, but also improperly involves Indiana in areas that are clearly of federal, not state, concerns,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.

Some state lawmakers oppose the extreme law, saying it will increase law enforcement costs and deter both employers and employees from coming to the state. Indiana University has also expressed concerns that the law will discourage enrollment and academic participation, noting that the institution hosts thousands of foreign national students, faculty members and visitors each school year.

“By cutting off the use of secure foreign photo identification, the law has effectively denied foreign visitors, scholars and immigrants in general the ability to engage in important commercial activity,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center. “These secure forms of official identification, which can be used by a visiting professor to open a bank account or by a foreign national to provide proof of identification in a wide variety of settings, are vital to both immigrants and society. This provision, like the rest of the law, is misguided and will undoubtedly have unintended social and economic consequences.”

Immigration bills inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070 have been introduced across the country this legislative season, but Indiana is only the third state to pass the controversial legislation this year. The state becomes one of only four, along with Arizona, Utah and Georgia, to enact draconian state-based immigration laws. The ACLU, NILC and a coalition of civil rights groups filed lawsuits in Arizona and Utah. The most troubling provisions of SB 1070 have been blocked by a federal appellate court, and the Utah law has been blocked by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, pending further review.

The lawsuit charges that the Indiana law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and authorizes unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

“Indiana has unwisely chosen to follow down Arizona’s unconstitutional path,” said Andre Segura, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This law marginalizes entire communities by criminalizing commonly accepted forms of identification. The law also undermines our most cherished constitutional safeguards by putting Indiana residents at risk of unlawful warrantless arrests without any suspicion of wrongdoing, much less criminal activity.”

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of three individual plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law.

Attorneys on the case include Falk, Jan P. Mensz and Gavin M. Rose of ACLU of Indiana; Segura, Lee Gelernt, Omar C. Jadwat, Cecillia D. Wang and Katherine Desormeau of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project; Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin and Shiu-Ming Cheer of NILC; and Angela D. Adams of Lewis & Kappes, P.C.

See the complaint.

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Hoosiers Head Down the Wrong Path

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, May 13, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org

Draconian New Laws Will Lead to Constitutional Violations, Racial Profiling

LOS ANGELES, Calif. —  The same day that the Utah “papers please” anti-immigrant law was put on hold by a federal court, Indiana earned the dubious distinction of becoming the third state to adopt a sweeping and draconian anti-immigrant law.  Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Despite vociferous outcry from the immigrant, business, and faith communities, Governor Mitch Daniels has chosen to go down the same divisive path as Utah and Arizona by signing both SB 590 and HB 1402, which will lead to constitutional violations and restrict access to an affordable education for children who have grown up in Indiana. Although Governor Daniels may score immediate political points for engaging in such divisive tactics, history shows that such actions will be to his ultimate peril.

“Law enforcement, business, and community leaders have unequivocally stated that laws such as SB 590 that effectively serve to target the immigrant community are a risk to public safety and economic security alike. Furthermore, signing divisive legislation into law sends a dangerous message that the color of one’s skin is an acceptable predictor of whether a person is lawfully residing in the United States. Such actions cannot and should not be tolerated.

“We stand with likeminded Indianans and people everywhere who abhor injustice to denounce such attempts to target communities of color, and will use all available resources to counter these divisive and costly activities.”

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Georgia Gov. Signs Racial Profiling Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, May 13, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org

Arizona Copycat Legislation Will Target Communities of Color, Trample Upon Civil Rights

LOS ANGELES, Calif. —  Ignoring denouncements from civil rights leaders and boycott threats, Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia today signed into law HB 87, which parrots key portions of Arizona’s racial profiling law. Georgia now joins Utah and Arizona in having enacted extreme, unconstitutional immigration enforcement legislation. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Despite the best efforts of Georgia’s civil rights, faith and business communities, Governor Deal, by signing a discriminatory law targeting those who may look or sound ‘foreign,’ added Georgia to the list of states that, like Arizona and Utah, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history. This is a sad day for Georgia and for all of those who believe that skin color should not be a predictor of one’s right to be in the United States. By signing this legally unsound bill, Deal has signaled to visitors and Georgians alike that a ‘papers, please’ society should replace constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

“Governor Deal’s misguided actions will have both legal and economic consequences: Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has been roundly rejected by the two federal courts that have reviewed it. Georgia’s law suffers from the same constitutional — and moral — flaws. Moreover, as Arizonans have painfully learned, the stigma associated with SB 1070 has cost millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue. In today’s economy, revenue the state and its businesses will now lose could have been better invested in Georgia’s local communities.

“We join Congressman John Lewis, immigrant leaders, and countless other Georgians in denouncing this misguided and unconstitutional law. Georgia deserves better than ill-conceived legislation that will only divide communities and exacerbate the state’s economic woes.”

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Reintroduction of the DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832

Reviving the DREAM

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 32 cosponsors introduced the DREAM Act, legislation that, if passed, would provide undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship if they attend college for two years or enlist in the military. Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also will introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives today. This legislation, which has been introduced in every congressional session since 2001, has received widespread support from the business, labor, education, and faith sectors, and enjoys high public approval ratings. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Senator Durbin, Representative Berman, Representative Ros-Lehtinen, and the other members of Congress who cosponsored this legislation recognize that passing this bill cannot come quickly enough for the young men and women — and children — whom it affects. Every day, talented young people are caught in the immigration enforcement dragnet and deported. That’s why, a few weeks ago, several senators also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive authority to make deferred action available on a more systematic basis to DREAM-eligible individuals, and thus to provide these Americans-at-heart a more reliable means of avoiding being deported from the only country they know.

“Last year, after a thrilling win in the House of Representatives, the DREAM Act, like so much other commonsense legislation that had been proposed, fell victim to partisan politics. The loss wasn’t felt only by the children affected by this legislation; it was felt by the entire Latino community, who watched the vote as it was broadcast live by the country’s two largest Spanish-language television networks.

“Yesterday, during a major address on immigration, President Obama reaffirmed his support for this much-needed legislation. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security continues to deport young DREAMers, even though they may be mere months away from having the opportunity to normalize their immigration status. While our greatest hope is that the DREAM Act becomes law, until then, we call on President Obama to use prosecutorial discretion to grant relief to these students. We cannot continue to lose these vital members of our communities. Our economy and society are suffering because of inaction.”

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Action to Reform Immigration System Should Follow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org

Action to Reform Immigration System Should Follow

LOS ANGELES — In a speech in El Paso, Texas, President Obama today reiterated his commitment to reforming the nation’s badly broken immigration system. The president talked about how immigration has helped make this country stronger and more prosperous, and how immigration reform is an “economic imperative.” Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“From the heart of one of the nation’s safest cities and busiest border crossings, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to a comprehensive solution to fix this nation’s outdated and badly broken immigration system. We couldn’t agree more: the status quo of 1,100 deportations per day is no longer acceptable, nor are the extreme and unconstitutional measures currently being explored and implemented by states.

“For too long, our families and communities have been torn apart because politicians have pursued problematic policies in order to ‘look tough’ on immigration. The result has led to major socioeconomic instability for this nation’s immigrant families and for all our communities.

“A few extremist members of Congress have helped fuel an anti-immigrant fervor by proposing economically disastrous and unrealistic proposals, like mandatory electronic employment verification for all businesses in the country. Such proposals are but a veneer to hide their mass-deportation strategy, and threaten to undermine the economic growth we all hope for.

“Worse, frustration at federal inaction has led Utah and Arizona to adopt extremist, unconstitutional measures that threaten fundamental rights for countless people of color. Though the most egregious provisions of the Arizona law have been blocked, and the Utah law has been temporarily delayed, other states, including Georgia, threaten to go down the same divisive and unconstitutional path.”

“Obama’s leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure that humane immigration reform remains on the federal to-do list. He now needs to spur his colleagues in Washington into action on this top economic and social issue, while vigorously defending the U.S. Constitution in response to states like Utah that want to deny civil rights and liberties to its residents.”

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Court Blocks Implementation of Utah Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org
Elizabeth Beresford, ACLU national, (917) 498-9697; media@aclu.org

Court Blocks Implementation of Utah Law

SALT LAKE CITY — Ensuring that Utah law enforcement will not be required to demand “papers” from all people residing in or traveling through Utah, a federal district court in Salt Lake City today blocked implementation of the state’s “show me your papers” law, scheduled to go into effect today.

The law, passed earlier this year, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer and interferes with federal law.

Today’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Utah challenging the Utah law.

The following can be attributed to Linton Joaquin, General Counsel, National Immigration Law Center:

“We are relieved that the Court agreed to delay implementation of this harmful law. As stated in our complaint, HB 497 puts Utahns at risk of suffering several irreparable harms. We look forward to fighting to ensure that this unconstitutional law, which would subject people, particularly people of color, to unlawful interrogation and detention, and create a climate of fear in immigrant communities, will be removed entirely from the books.”

The following can be attributed to Darcy Goddard, Legal Director, ACLU of Utah:

“We are pleased the court has ordered that the law cannot take effect until the court has ample time to review the case in full. We anticipate proving to the court that this discriminatory law threatens the rights of all people in Utah. Like Arizona’s SB 1070, the Utah law violates the Constitution and is even worse in requiring all Utahns to carry their ‘papers’ at all times to prove they are lawfully present. Wherever civil liberties are threatened, be it in Utah, Arizona or elsewhere, we will continue to challenge unconstitutional laws like these.”

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All Children Have the Right to an Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, May 7, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org

Depts. of Justice and Education Remind School Districts That All Students, Regardless of Immigration Status, May Enroll in Public Schools

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education yesterday issued a joint letter to remind educators of their legal responsibility to educate all students, regardless of national origin or immigration status. The letter issued a stern warning to districts that student enrollment practices that may “lead to the exclusion of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived immigration status” would “contravene Federal law.”

“For more than fifty years, the law of the land has been clear: a child’s right to an education is constitutionally protected,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Immigration enforcement has no place in a child’s classroom and parents should not have reason to fear that they are putting themselves or their loved ones at risk by enrolling their children in their local public schools. Ensuring that all children have access to education is necessary for the well-being of our communities and for the future of our country.”

Eunice Cho, a Skadden Fellow at the law center, added, “Too often, districts illegally place onerous verification requirements upon families who attempt to enroll their children in schools. We hope that this letter will prevent schools from engaging in discriminatory practices, and instead focus on ensuring that all children in their districts receive the education they need and deserve.”

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The letter, a fact sheet (in English and Spanish), and a Q & A resource is available fromhttp://www.justice.gov/crt/about/edu/documents/plyler.php.


LA ADMINISTRACION DE OBAMA:
TODOS LOS NIÑOS TIENEN EL DERECHO A UNA EDUCACION

Los Departamentos de Educación y Justicia le Recuerdan a los Distritos Escolares que Todos los Estudiantes, sin Importar su Estatus Migratorio, Pueden Asistir a Escuelas Publicas

LOS ANGELES – El Departamento de Justicia y el Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos ayer publicaron en conjunto una carta para recordar a los educadores de su responsabilidad legal a educar a todos los estudiantes, sin importar su país de origen o estatus migratorio. Esta misiva contiene una severa advertencia a los distritos escolares señalando que cualquier práctica que pueda “llevar a la exclusión de estudiantes basado en su estatus migratorio actual o percibido o el de sus padres o guardianes legales” seria “contrario a la ley federal”.

“Por más de cinco décadas, la ley en este país ha sido clara: el derecho de los niños a la educación está protegido por la constitución”, cito Marielena Hincapié, directora ejecutiva del Centro Nacional de Leyes de Inmigración.  “El control migratorio no tiene lugar en las aulas escolares y los padres de familia no deberían tener ningun temor a exponerse a sí mismos o sus seres queridos a consecuencias migratorias por el simple hecho de matricular a sus hijos en las escuelas públicas. Asegurar que todos los niños tengan acceso a una educación es necesario para el bienestar de nuestras comunidades y para el futuro de nuestro país”.

Eunice Cho, una Skadden Fellow con el Centro Nacional de Leyes de Inmigración, agrego, “Muy a menudo, los distritos escolares imponen a las familias requisitos onerosos de verificación de estatus migratorio cuando intentan registrar a sus hijos en las escuelas. Esperamos que esta carta impida que las escuelas cometan prácticas discriminatorias y que en su lugar se enfoquen en asegurar que todos los niños en sus distritos escolares reciban la educación que necesitan y merecen”.

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NILC Files Lawsuit Challenging Utah Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

CONTACT:
Adela de la Torre, NILC, (213) 674-2832; delatorre@nilc.org
Rachel Myers, ACLU national, (212) 549-2689 or 2666; media@aclu.org
Karen McCreary, ACLU of Utah, (801) 521-9862; kmccreary@acluutah.org

Law Would Turn Utah into Police State and Invite Racial Profiling, Groups Say

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olsen filed a class action lawsuit today charging that Utah’s recently passed law, HB 497, like Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, authorizes police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, invites racial profiling of Latinos and others who appear “foreign” to an officer, and interferes with federal law.

“By turning law enforcement officers into immigration agents and requiring them to demand papers demonstrating immigration status, HB 497 promotes racial profiling and ensures that immigrant communities will no longer feel safe going to the authorities as victims of or witnesses to crime,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel of the National Immigration Law Center.  “This undermines the public safety of everyone.”

The lawsuit charges that the Utah law is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment; restricts the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the United States; violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by unlawfully discriminating against certain lawful immigrants as well as people in Utah without approved identify documents; and violates the Utah state constitutional guarantee of uniform operation of the laws.

“America is not a ‘show me your papers’ country.  No one should be subject to investigation, detention and arrest without any suspicion of criminal activity,” said Cecillia Wang, managing attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.  “Utah’s law violates the Constitution and we are confident that we will prevent it from taking effect.”

“This law has been wildly misrepresented as a kinder, gentler version of Arizona’s discriminating law,” said Karen McCreary, executive director of the ACLU of Utah.  “But the truth is, this ill-conceived law is just as harsh, turning Utah into a police state where everyone is required to carry their ‘papers’ to prove they are lawfully present.”

Several prominent law enforcement officials, including Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, oppose the law because it undermines trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities.  Burbank and other officers have expressed concerns that the law diverts limited resources away from law enforcement’s primary responsibility to provide protection and promote public safety in the community.

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on behalf of civil rights, labor, social justice, and business organizations, including Utah Coalition of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Workers’ United Rocky Mountain Joint Board, Centro Civico Mexicano, Coalition of Utah Progressives, individually named plaintiffs who would be subject to harassment or arrest under the law, and a class of similarly situated people.

Attorneys on the case are:

National Immigration Law Center:
Joaquin, Karen C. Tumlin, Shiu-Ming Cheer, Melissa S. Keaney

ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project:
Wang, Omar C. Jadwat, Andre Segura, Katherine Desormeau

ACLU Racial Justice Program:
Elora Mukherjee

ACLU of Utah:
Darcy Goddard, Esperanza Granados

Munger, Tollles & Olson LLP:
Bradley S. Phillips

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Listen to a recording of the telephonic news conference held to announce the lawsuit.

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