Immigrants Rights Tag - ACLU of North Carolina Mon, 22 May 2017 13:18:53 -0400 en-gb ACLU-NC Files Lawsuit Demanding Documents on Implementation of Trump Muslim Ban

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
In President Trump’s First Week, ACLU Hands Him First Stinging Rebuke

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
“I’m Optimistic Because It’s the Only Way I Know How to Live.”

Karen Anderson, the ACLU-NC’s New Executive Director, on the Fight for Civil Liberties in North Carolina

By Molly Rivera, Communications Associate

At just 10 years old Karen Anderson immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. Her family moved to New York to a majority Black neighborhood. Even from a young age, she remembers being struck by racial tensions in her community.

“It’s at that age that you begin to look out at the world, and things just didn’t seem right,” said Karen.

As more and more inequities and injustices came into focus, she tried to reconcile her vision of what she thought her life would be like in the U.S. and what was actually happening around her. She also began to ask questions: Why is the world this way? And does it have to be? She finally started to find the answers she was looking for in the classroom.

“At some point I was introduced to the beauty of the Constitution,” she said. “And that was a big moment for me because it calls to the best of us.”

Karen soon found her place working on social justice issues, and quickly realized that this was what she felt called to do.

“There’s a dichotomy of what we could be as a nation and what we are,” said Karen. “And this idea really speaks to me, and I think to the larger immigrant community.”

Throughout her professional career as a lawyer, she explored her passion for gender and racial equity issues and criminal justice, doing pro bono work on immigration, employment, and civil rights matters. Finally, she discovered the ACLU, a natural fit for her interests and experience. She served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of New Hampshire for ten years and, more recently, on the National Board before she was drawn to North Carolina.

“North Carolina is very much on the cutting edge of civil rights issues,” said Karen. “Almost every issue that is front and center nationally is happening here.”

Karen is taking the helm of the ACLU of North Carolina at a pivotal time for civil liberties in the state. The organization is in the midst of a high-profile legal battle against House Bill 2, the state’s notoriously discriminatory anti-LGBT law, and recently helped win a major victory for voting rights when a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s sweeping voter suppression law. In response to recent legislative attacks, the ACLU-NC is also ramping up efforts to work with communities across the state to promote police accountability, fight anti-immigrant proposals, and protect abortion access for all North Carolina women.

Even among the sparks of political turmoil, community unrest, and deep divisions and injustices that persist today, Karen feels that the state is pointed forward, changing in ways that still feel welcoming to her.

“I am optimistic because it’s the only way I know how to live,” said Karen. “Right will win in the end.”

mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Legal News Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:51:07 -0400
N.C. Senate One Vote Away From Passing Anti-Immigrant Bill

RALEIGH – Today the North Carolina Senate voted to approve HB 100, a bill that creates new rules for the enforcement of state immigration laws. Senator Mike Woodard objected to the bill on its third reading, meaning that the Senate must vote one more time before the bill is sent to the House.   

Specifically, the bill would

·         Take away the ability of law enforcement officers to use local or organizations IDs, such as those used in Greensboro, as a tool for for identifying crime victims, witnesses, and suspects

·         Empower the Attorney General’s office to determine if a local government is in violation of state immigration laws and potentially cut off funding to school construction and other infrastructure projects if a jurisdiction is found in violation

·         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.

Immigrant rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina, are opposed to the bill.

“This bill creates a costly, burdensome and unnecessary framework for enforcing immigration laws that would make it harder for law enforcement officers to do their jobs, encourage fraudulent tipsters to waste government resources, and give the Attorney General sweeping powers to withhold funding from school construction and other infrastructure projects,” said Sarah Preston, Policy Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “These changes would allow massive government overreach and waste precious taxpayer dollars – all in an attempt to target and single out undocumented North Carolinians who work, go to school, and contribute to our communities in countless ways.”  

Read a factsheet on HB100 by the ACLU of North Carolina and the North Carolina Justice Center here.


mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Legislative News Mon, 27 Jun 2016 18:39:20 -0400