About the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project
Who We Are
Founded in 1987, the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of non-citizens and to combating public and private discrimination against immigrants. For more than twenty years, the IRP has been at the forefront of almost every major legal struggle on behalf of immigrants' rights through class action lawsuits, law reform litigation, judicial rulings and legal advocacy. IRP has won nationwide injunctions, established major precedents and litigated leading cases in the United States Supreme Court, including Demore v. Kim and the landmark INS v. St. Cyr, which upheld immigrants' right to habeas corpus and reversed the retroactive deportation of longtime legal residents.
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Your support helps the ACLU defend immigrants’ rights and other civil liberties.
What We Do
The IRP brings strategic impact litigation throughout the country; provides leadership and legal analysis on constitutional, civil rights and civil liberties issues to immigration advocates, community-based groups and the immigration bar; engages in advocacy and public education and supports the work of the ACLU's affiliates.
Why We Do It
The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every "person" and are not limited to citizens. The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as the authors and ratifiers of post-Civil War amendments, all understood the essential importance of protecting non-citizens against governmental abuse and discrimination.
Our nation has unquestioned authority to control its borders and to regulate immigration. But we must exercise the awesome power to exclude or deport immigrants consistent with the rule of law, the fundamental norms of humanity and the requirements of the Constitution.
The ACLU was born in the 1920's during the "Red Scare," a time when then U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer was ordering immigrants summarily detained and deported because of their political views. That was the beginning of the ACLU's long work challenging unconstitutional laws and practices to make the Constitution a living document for everyone in the country. The ACLU has defended the Constitution's guarantees on behalf of the foreign-born and immigrants ever since.
Upholding the rights of immigrants is important to us all. When the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone's rights are at risk. Non-citizens are often the first and most vulnerable targets of government abuse.
Ahilan Arulanantham — Senior Staff Attorney, California
Esha Bhandari — Equal Justice Works Fellow
Justin Cox — Staff Attorney, Atlanta
R. Orion Danjuma — Skadden Fellow, California
Kate Desormeau — Staff Attorney, California
Lorena Fernandez — Office Manager, California
Lee Gelernt — Deputy Project Director and Director of Access to the Courts Program, New York
Lucas Guttentag — Senior Attorney (Director 1985 – 2011)
Omar Jadwat — Supervising Attorney, New York
Dror Ladin — Skadden Fellow, New York
Molly Lauterback — Paralegal, New York
Araceli Martínez-Olguín - Staff Attorney, California
Jennifer Chang Newell — Senior Staff Attorney, California
Judy Rabinovitz — Deputy Project Director and Director of Detention and Federal Enforcement Programs, New York
Tess Ranahan — Paralegal & Special Assistant to the Director of the Center for Equality
Andre Segura — Staff Attorney, New York
Christine Sun - Staff Attorney, California
Michael Tan — Staff Attorney, California
Mariel Villareal — Legal Assistant, New York
Cecillia Wang — Director, California and New York