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Immigrant Rights

The Constitution guarantees basic rights and freedoms to all people in America, not just U.S. citizens. Advocating fair treatment for non-citizens has been an important part of the ACLU’s work since its founding in 1920, when it opposed the summary arrest and deportation of Eastern European immigrants during the Palmer Raids.

A federal court ruling has spurred Washington counties to stop holding immigrants in jail past the time they are eligible for release. The ACLU-WA and the NW Immigrant Rights Project are urging all counties and cities to follow suit.

Topic Resources

Published: 
Friday, July 29, 2011
A dynamite cover story in the latest Seattle Weekly – “Twilight for Immigrants” by Nina Shapiro – details the havoc being wreaked on lives and a community’s fabric by the U.S. Border Patrol’s heavy-handed tactics on Olympic Peninsula. The article is full of disturbing incidents which challenge the Border Patrol’s bland assertion that it does not engage in racial profiling.
Published: 
Friday, February 18, 2011
I am a proud, naturalized American citizen who believes firmly that immigration reform needs to begin from a positive starting point, not a negative one rooted in criminalization and stripping immigrants of basic civil rights. I arrived in California as a refugee when I was five years old and gained my citizenship as a teenager. This process was spurred on by my mother, who had heard rumors that the US would be deporting all non-citizen immigrants including those with legal status. My family couldn’t afford to all apply for citizenship at once so my mother and father, being the typical self-sacrificing immigrant parents, started my paperwork first, even with the false specter of deportation over their own heads.
Published: 
Friday, September 3, 2010
Do you think Arizona, with its “papers please” law, is the only state where law enforcement officials are approaching travelers and asking about their citizenship? Think again. Federal immigration officials are asserting the authority to ask individuals about their citizenship far away from any border crossing or port. And they regularly question people as far as 100 miles away from any border. Nine of the most populous U.S. cities and two-thirds of our nation’s population reside within this “Constitution-free zone.” Read more
Published: 
Friday, July 30, 2010
This week the ACLU and Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a joint report on people with mental disabilities in the US immigration system. Highlighting another tragic failing of our nation’s system for dealing with immigration, the report found that “people with mental disabilities, including US citizens and others with claims to remain in the US, receive unfair hearings and are at risk of erroneous deportation in the absence of courtroom safeguards.” Read more
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
  Es costumbre que el cuatro de julio es un tiempo de celebrar la independencia estadounidense y nuestra libertad política con cuetes y carne asada.  Pero este año, hay un sentido mutua en nuestras comunidades que nuestra libertad y dignidad colectiva esta amenazada con la ley de discriminación racial de Arizona, SB 1070.  
Published: 
Thursday, July 1, 2010
    The Fourth of July is typically a time to celebrate our nation’s independence and our collective political freedom with fireworks and BBQs. However, this year many people, including myself, feel that our political freedom and dignity have been threatened by unfair legislation: Arizona’s racial profiling law, SB 1070.    
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In response to civil liberties threats caused by the passage of Arizona's racial profiling law, the ACLU of Washington issued a travel alert today informing Washington residents of their rights when stopped by law enforcement when traveling in Arizona.

News Flash: Court Blocks Implementation of Key Sections of Arizona's Racial Profiling Law

Know Your Rights When Stopped by Police, Immigration or the FBI

Document, Published: 
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
What to do when you are stopped by the police: You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud. You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home. If you are not under arrest or detained, you have the right to calmly leave. You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately. Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.
Published: 
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Arizona's new law creates a mini-police state where people can be asked to show their papers to law enforcement simply because they look or sound "foreign." We must reject any efforts to enact such measures in Washington and make sure that what happens in Arizona stops in Arizona.

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