Due Process Tag - ACLU of North Carolina http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/Latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 13:19:01 -0400 en-gb ACLU-NC Files Lawsuit Demanding Documents on Implementation of Trump Muslim Ban http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-files-lawsuit-demanding-documents-on-implementation-of-trump-muslim-ban.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-files-lawsuit-demanding-documents-on-implementation-of-trump-muslim-ban.html

ATLANTA — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans.

Today’s action is part of a total of 13 FOIA lawsuits filed by ACLU affiliates across the country. The ACLU of North Carolina lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the ACLU affiliates in Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia, seeks records from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Atlanta Field Office.  In particular, the lawsuit seeks records related to CBP’s implementation of President Trump’s Muslim bans at Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte Douglas International Airports.

The ACLU first sought this information through FOIA requests submitted to CBP on February 2. Since the government has failed to substantively respond, the ACLU is now suing.

“President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim travel bans disrupted people's lives and spread fear and uncertainty throughout our communities. The public deserves to know how these orders were carried out so that officials can be held accountable to ‘We the People’,” said Irena Como, Staff Attorney with the ACLU of North Carolina.

“CBP has a long history of ignoring its obligations under the federal Freedom of Information Act — a law that was enacted to ensure that Americans have timely access to information of pressing public concern. The public has a right to know how federal immigration officials have handled the implementation of the Muslim bans, especially after multiple federal courts have blocked various aspects of these executive orders,” said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Each lawsuit seeks unique and local information regarding how CBP implemented the executive orders at specific airports and ports of entry in the midst of rapidly developing and sometimes conflicting government guidance.

The coordinated lawsuits seek information from the following local CBP offices:

  • Atlanta

  • Baltimore

  • Boston

  • Chicago

  • Detroit

  • Houston

  • Los Angeles

  • Miami

  • Portland

  • San Diego

  • San Francisco

  • Seattle

  • Tampa

  • Tucson

The full list of lawsuits can be found here.

Information on the original FOIA requests is here.

More background on CBP’s FOIA practices is here.

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legal News Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:17:48 -0400
Sweeping Anti-Immigrant Measure Passes N.C. Senate Committee http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/sweeping-anti-immigrant-measure-passes-n-c-senate-committee.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/sweeping-anti-immigrant-measure-passes-n-c-senate-committee.html

RALEIGH — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina is speaking out against a sweeping anti-immigrant bill that would jeopardize students, direct state police to enforce federal immigration law, and seek to punish local governments who enact their own policies related to immigration. 

Senate Bill 145 was approved by the Senate Judiciary committee today and now heads to the Senate Rules and Operations Committee for consideration.

Among its provisions, Senate Bill 145 would

  • Compel the University of North Carolina system to disclose the immigration status of students to law enforcement upon request, potentially forcing schools to violate privacy protections in the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • Remove the ability of local law enforcement to use local or community IDs to determine a person’s residency or identity

  • Require the N.C. Department of Public Safety to enforce federal immigration laws through the 287(g) program, effectively turning Highway Patrol officers into immigration officials - the only such active statewide program in the U.S.

  • Withhold a range of tax revenues from local governments that choose to limit their role in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

  • Allow anonymous tipsters to claim that a local government is violating immigration laws, compelling the Attorney General’s office to dedicate resources to an investigation.

  • Empower the Attorney General’s office to determine if a local government is in violation of immigration laws and cut off funding for transportation and other critical projects if a jurisdiction is found in violation.

“These extreme proposals would trample on the rights and wellbeing of all community members, spread fear and confusion, waste countless government resources, and do nothing to make North Carolina safer,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “This bill potentially violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution and could expose North Carolina to costly litigation. But more importantly, state lawmakers should not be in the business of telling local officials to target and single out undocumented North Carolinians who work, go to school, and contribute to our communities in countless ways.”

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Uncategorized Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:01:33 -0400
In President Trump’s First Week, ACLU Hands Him First Stinging Rebuke http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/in-president-trump-s-first-week-aclu-hands-him-first-stinging-rebuke.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/in-president-trump-s-first-week-aclu-hands-him-first-stinging-rebuke.html

This is a remarkable day. When Donald Trump was elected president, we promised that if he tried to implement his unconstitutional and un-American policies that we would take him to court. We did that today. And we won.

Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order that suspended resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely, suspended all other refugee resettlement for 120 days, and banned the entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. All seven countries are predominately Muslim countries. We have no doubt that the motivation behind the executive order was discriminatory. This was a Muslim ban wrapped in a paper-thin national security rationale.

The executive order went into effect immediately and so did its destructive intent. At John F. Kennedy International Airport last night, Hameed Khalid Darweesh arrived and was immediately detained. Darweesh worked as interpreter for the Army’s 101st Airborne Division and, according to Brandon Friedman, a platoon leader in Iraq, saved countless U.S. service members’ lives. We don’t know how many other refugees and foreign nationals with green cards or visas might have been detained when they tried to make their way into the United States today, but we intend to find out. We are asking anyone with any information to get in touch with the ACLU.

The ACLU with other organizations immediately sprang into action and challenged Trump’s executive order in court as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. We immediately got a hearing and argued our case. At around 9 p.m., Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay, blocking President Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported. She did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, but for now, the men and women who would have been deported are safe. When I and staff attorney Lee Gelernt emerged from the courthouse, we were met with a sea of people cheering and chanting.

I cannot express how humbling and inspiring this moment is.

The United States is a nation governed by the rule of law and not the iron will of one man. President Trump now has learned that we are democratic republic where the powers of government are not dictatorial. They are limited. The courts are the bulwark of our democracy that protects individual rights and guards against the overreaching of an administration that confuses its will for the American public’s.

Tonight was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, one that demonstrates that the people united will never be divided. This is only the beginning. This is merely the first skirmish in a long battle to vigorously defend the Bill of Rights from the authoritarian designs of the Trump administration.

Savor this victory tonight, but prepare to fight on.

mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legal News Sat, 28 Jan 2017 15:12:00 -0500
Gov. McCrory Signs Bill that Keeps Police Camera Footage Secret http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/gov-mccrory-signs-bill-that-keeps-police-camera-footage-secret.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/gov-mccrory-signs-bill-that-keeps-police-camera-footage-secret.html

RALEIGH – North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory today signed into law HB 972, which allows law enforcement agencies to keep officer worn body camera footage from the public unless ordered to release the footage by a court.

“Body cameras should be a tool to make law enforcement more transparent and accountable to the communities they serve, but this shameful law will make it nearly impossible to achieve those goals,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina. “People who are filmed by police body cameras should not have to spend time and money to go to court in order to see that footage. These barriers are significant and we expect them to drastically reduce any potential this technology had to make law enforcement more accountable to community members.”

Under the new law, body camera and dash camera footage are not public record. Law enforcement agencies have the discretion to release footage to people who are recorded, but if the agency denies a request to disclose the footage, the recorded individual must bring a claim in court to attempt to obtain the footage. There is no mechanism for law enforcement to release videos of public interest to the general public other than through a court order.

The ACLU of North Carolina has a free smartphone app, Mobile Justice NC, that empowers users to record encounters with police and send the footage to the ACLU of North Carolina for review. It is available on iPhones and Androids. More information is at acluofnc.org/app 

“We will continue to stand up for the most vulnerable in our communities and ask any person who has trouble obtaining or viewing body cam footage recorded by police to contact us,” Birdsong said.


mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legislative News Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:21:11 -0400