ACLU Announces Expansion Plan to Fight Trump Policies

The last several weeks have been breathless and agonizing — but also exhilarating — for us at the ACLU. 

Breathless because President Trump began actually putting his unconstitutional campaign promises into reality. Agonizing because his policies have begun impacting peoples’ lives. And exhilarating because of how the public has responded to our opposition to his policies. 

Before President Trump took office, many believed that his proposed plans were simply campaign rhetoric and that he wouldn’t actually try to implement such blatantly un-American and unconstitutional policies. But if there is one thing we have learned since his inauguration, it’s that he is intent on making his promises a reality. He showed that with the executive orders to crack down on immigrants, with his pick for the Supreme Court, and with a Muslim ban, which we were able to stay in federal court the day after he imposed it.

In the coming days and weeks, President Trump will likely issue executive orders curtailing LGBT and reproductive rights. We anticipate that the Trump administration will ratchet up the detention and deportation machinery that will tear families apart. Communities will be profiled and targeted based on their skin color or perceived national origin. He may also move to defund Planned Parenthood. Taken together, Trump’s policies have the potential to affect the lives of millions of Americans in heartbreaking ways. And when this happens, we will go to court to defend the constitutional rights of immigrants and citizens alike — just like we have these past two weeks. 

This is what we do. It’s why the ACLU was created.

The day Trump took the oath of office we filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding any and all government documents that addressed conflicts of interest and violations of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. We did so because President Trump has refused to sell or place his businesses in a blind trust. We are now searching for a business competitor to Trump who would have standing to challenge the violation of the Emoluments Clause. 

There is no limit to how big a resistance to Trump we can build at the ACLU. 

During Trump’s first week in office, we filed a constitutional challenge to Trump’s Muslim ban. We now have several cases challenging its constitutionality — including in New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Just last week, 50 ACLU affiliates filed coordinated Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information from Customs and Border Protection field offices about how the Muslim ban was interpreted and implemented at airports across the country. And we have another lawsuit in the works to file the minute Trump tries to allow federal government employees and agencies the right to discriminate in the areas of LGBT and reproductive rights under the guise of religious freedom. 

The protests across the country — in the streets and at airports and courthouses — have been truly exhilarating. I was stunned to come out of the courthouse in Brooklyn following our emergency hearing last week to stop the Muslim ban and find hundreds of people chanting, “A-C-L-U! We are here to stand with you.”

The public response to our opposition to the policies and orders of President Trump has been astonishing. Almost 1 million people have made online donations to the ACLU. Our membership has now more than doubled since the election. The spontaneous public support to our work has also swelled the list of our activists. More than 1 million have signed up to follow us on Facebook, and our Twitter following has tripled.   

All in, we have received over $79 million in new contributions online since the election, with the average donation being $79, which for many is a significant chunk of money. This surge of contributions towards our annual $220 million budget will allow us to scale up in significant ways to build a war chest for future battles.

We plan to spend over $40 million to build up our state offices. Among advocacy groups, the ACLU is the only organization with boots on the ground in every state. Even as we fight at the federal level, the front lines may well be in Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia — critical states with large populations that decide the trajectory of national politics. The second tier of priority states for growth is Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia. Already, we see anti-reproductive rights laws, anti-immigrant bills, and anti-Muslim policies being introduced in state legislatures.  

We are also taking a close look at those states where the politics are in flux — where our advocacy can be particularly impactful as people go to the polls to vote in the near future. This infusion of $40 million into our state offices will turn into 100 new ACLU staff positions in places where litigators and advocates can make a real difference.

We also plan to spend over $13 million to build a grassroots member-mobilization program. With the surge of new members, we now have a growing army of people who don’t just want to write a check. They want to join the fight. We will be asking our volunteers and members to join our team and partner with us to do grassroots calls-to-action, local town halls, lobby days, acts of protest, and engagement on our core priorities. Ultimately, we want to have our membership surpass that of the National Rifle Association. We are now half the size of the NRA, but with continued growth, mobilization, and activism, we can build an even bigger force across a broader range of issues.

We plan to spend over $21 million to hire new lawyers, advocates, and other staff in the headquarters of the ACLU to strengthen the core functioning of the headquarters. We are still the David to the government’s Goliath. We have 300 litigators on payroll nationwide — 100 of them in our headquarters. The government has over 19,000 lawyers on its payroll. 11,000 of them belong to Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department if he’s confirmed as the next attorney general.

I am confident that we will win many of our cases. Even in those that we might lose, our litigation will frame the controversies for the public to understand and engage with us in the advocacy. At the very least, if we carpet-bomb the Trump administration with lawsuits, we can rob it of momentum and gum up the machinery of its anti-civil liberties and anti-civil rights agenda. This litigation is expensive and time-consuming. The average case takes between two and three years, with some lasting a decade or more. As we ramp up our litigation and advocacy, we need to have the staying power to keep up after President Trump all four years and beyond.  

Finally, we will spend $5 million in infrastructure, new office space, and expansion of operations to get this work done. This overhead pays for database systems to house our growing membership base and new office space to accommodate new staff. Rest assured that we will put the bulk of the money into real programs: Our program/management ratio is 86 percent program, 14 percent management, including fundraising. 

We are poised to launch a full-throttle response to whatever lies ahead over the next four years. There is no limit to how big a resistance to Trump we can build at the ACLU. It has been our history for over 97 years to fight the worst assaults against justice, equality, and democracy. It is our mission — our mandate — to rise to that challenge again.

With your help, we will continue to do so.  

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Mary B. West

I am making this particular post in several of the blogs. It is
*********Important*********

I CHALLENGE everyone who is OFFENDED on behalf of ELIZABETH WARREN
to donate
$5.00-$10.00 (or more)
to the ACLU TODAY, in HER
HONOR

ALSO
*******IMPORTANT********
IF YOU object to the Confirmation of JEFF SESSOMS,
and STAND with the ACLU in keeping him under a microscope...........then.......

I CHALLENGE YOU to donate
$5.00-$10.00 (or more)
to the ACLU TODAY.

WE MUST keep the money flowing to the ACLU, for they must engage in countless LEGAL BATTLES on YOUR behalf and MINE. The ACLU needs plentiful resources to PROTECT our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS and our DEMOCRACY.

Mary B. West

Well, I am just curious. I donated $30.00 yesterday, after I challenged my fellow ACLU Members. Were any of you game?

Hit Trump where...

The civil liberties of millions are being threatens by Trump's move against the EPA. Trump's motives to cut the EPA are tied to his profits!!! He wants to make it easier to develop properties. Suing Trump about about the violation of civil liberties for clean air and water will force access to his taxes during discovery thus reveling his conflicts of interests.

If not the ACLU then who?

ASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory panel on children’s health gathered last week to consider a few items that had long been on its agenda: getting lead out of water, cutting pollution-related asthma, and educating doctors about toxins in toys.

The panel also took up an issue that few members could have foreseen several months ago: keeping the program off the chopping block.

Caroline Cox, a member of the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, suggested a letter to the incoming EPA chief, touting the economic benefits of protecting children from pollutants that can damage their brains or cause illness later in life. (“That might resonate,” she said.) Tom Neltner, an Environmental Defense Fund lawyer and a member of the advisory group since 2011, said the message must be more urgent.

“With any administration change there are people who don’t have any idea about this issue,” Neltner said. “We should emphasize that kids don’t get a second chance to develop a brain. They don’t get a second chance on a reproductive system.”

Flint
READ MORE
Uncertainty haunts parents of Flint, as every rash, every tantrum raises alarms
For scientists, the issue of environmental health is not typically seen as politically fraught as climate change. But interviews with staffers throughout the EPA underline widespread concern — and some panic — about the fate of environmental health regulation under President Trump and Scott Pruitt, his nominee to lead the agency.

Pruitt’s skepticism on climate change is well-known, as are his ties to the oil and gas industry. He filed or joined 14 lawsuits against the EPA during his six years as Oklahoma attorney general, and EPA officials have already been told to expect budget cuts to certain initiatives.

But the EPA’s environmental health staff are still waiting for the other shoe to drop on them if, as expected, Pruitt is confirmed.

Although Pruitt has not been particularly vocal about environmental health issues, he has a long record of opposition to environmental regulations that go beyond his many statements on climate change.

In testimony before Congress last May, he asserted that the EPA was never intended to be the country’s “frontline regulator.” During a confirmation hearing, asked about harmful levels of lead in the human body, he said, “that’s something I have not reviewed nor know about.” And he said that the EPA would have to consider the science about asbestos before taking further action, although it is a known carcinogen.

To advocates of environmental health regulation, it all spells trouble.

The study of the impact of chemicals on living organisms has actually boomed in recent years, after decades of being dismissed as fringe science.

Both EPA and the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences oversee hundreds of studies annually. Some evaluate the cognitive impacts of metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury on children living near Superfund sites, including those in impoverished areas. Others test the impact of pesticides on the behavior of children of farmworkers or the relationship between pesticide exposure and depression.

“Research on the effects of toxics on the human body has advanced significantly in recent years,” said Sam Delson, of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. “We have revised many of our health-protective standards and risk assessments to reflect the special sensitivity of children and other subpopulations.”

Tar Creek
CHARLIE RIEDEL/APThe town of Picher, Okla., was the site of major cleanup efforts to address the environmental impact of the Tar Creek Superfund site, once considered among the most polluted places in the country.
Lately, the EPA and other agencies have been focused on a new category of toxins called “contaminants of emerging concern” — that is, nanoparticles and other ingredients in your medicines, cosmetics, and other consumer goods that might not be as safe as once believed, especially for pregnant women and children.

Many researchers fear that their funding from the EPA will be cut in the Trump administration; and even if it’s not, many suspect, the agency will no longer issue protective rules based on their scientific evidence.

“The tragedy is that no one who voted for President Trump voted for dirty water, dirty air, or more dangerous pesticides in their food,” said Scott Faber, vice president of governmental affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington. “But every indication is that Scott Pruitt will methodically weaken the basic environmental health protections.’’

To date under Trump, the EPA has blocked about 30 pending regulations, not unusual for a new administration. But a review of those rules shows many of them were designed to protect the public from environmental hazards, including air pollution, contaminated water, and hazardous chemicals.

The agency is not required to explain why regulations were canceled, and neither the White House nor Pruitt responded to requests for comment about their plans at the EPA. But the Trump administration has been clear that it believes regulations are a burden on small businesses and restrict economic growth.

“The signals are disconcerting,” said one EPA official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the record. “They could leave us doing the same stuff and slowly make changes or they could come in the first day and tell us, change what you are doing right now.” One especially vulnerable area, this official said, was lead, where the Obama administration did not accomplish all it intended to following the Flint, Mich., water poisoning disaster.

But the big question is how the new EPA will implement the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

The law, which President Obama signed in June, revised EPA’s handling of toxic substances, giving the agency new clout and setting deadlines for reviewing chemicals of concern. The legislation was the subject of debate for more than a dozen years, and was championed by New Jersey Democratic Senator Lautenberg, whose backing paved the way to bipartisan consensus on the measure.

So, what will happen now?

“The biggest thing from our corner of the world is the implementation of the Lautenberg reforms,” said Elizabeth Hitchcock, legislative director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of public health and environmental groups. “The law gave EPA new tools in its toolbox to get dangerous chemicals out of the marketplace. Now, it’s a question of whether they will use them.”

The surgeon general takes a hard line on e-cigarettes among teens
The law imposed deadlines for the EPA to select and review suspect chemicals used in common household goods and found in the environment. Last fall, the EPA released its first list of 10, which the agency is now reviewing. But the next step is more contentious: The EPA must agree on the science, to decide which substances to ban.

“It will be up to the new people at EPA to figure out how to implement the changes and write the rules to do so,” said Myron Ebell, who ran the EPA transition team for Trump and works on energy and environmental issues at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“My guess is they will be trying to do exactly what Congress has prescribed, and that they will be trying to do that in the most scientifically defensible way possible.”

Ebell also hinted that the EPA’s environmental education programs could be reconsidered.

“Far too much of the EPA’s environmental education efforts are not scientifically respectable,” he said.

But many scientists — including a group of nearly 450 who submitted a petition against Pruitt’s nomination earlier this week — say that if the EPA is run by officials who deny climate change is a serious problem, they cannot possibly get the science right.

Former EPA official Tracey Woodruff, who now directs the program on reproductive health and the environment at the University of California, San Francisco, is among those expecting a significant rollback in environmental health rules.

“Once they get into power, they have so many different options in how they can influence science and policymaking,” she said.

“They could defund areas of research that they think might make the industry look bad, so research on pesticides or toxic chemicals or research on children’s health could go,” Woodruff said. “They could go after the biomonitoring program, which is already on life support, and cut funding” to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Woodruff noted that in many cases, an EPA administrator could not take office and suspend most regulations. There would need to be a regulatory review process.

“Unless they change that too,” she said.

Sheila Kaplan can be reached at sheila.kaplan@statnews.com

Alan P. Gross

I was a political prisoner in Cuba for five years. These last two years in freedom have been wonderful, however I am now seeing an America that is nothing like the country I yearned for from my Cuban prison cell. My wife and I are supporting the ACLU so that we have at least a little more protection of our rights. I urge you to join us by supporting this necessary organization - especially now.

Magda Roth

Do you have any organization in the vicinity of 60430 zip code?
Also, can somebody tell me if the idea of constitutional breaches due to conflict between business and presidency is it being challenged in the court?
I know this is not ACLU issue, but anybody knows anything about FBI/Congress?Senate investigation in the Russian involvement in the election?

Thank you, Magda Roth
email: magdaroth@comcast.net

Anonymous

He's not intent on making his "promises" to NOT cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid a reality. He made promises several TIMES to do THAT and he has no fuckin' intention of ever doing it and never DID plan to do it. Just to get voters so stupid they'd have trouble spelling ID to check his name on the ballot. He's going to screw them over in a royal way and they'll deserve it but not the people who DIDN'T vote for him, knowing there was no way in HELL a BILLIONAIRE was "oh so understanding" of the common man's issues.

Rob

Planned Parenthood accepts federal funding received through federal taxes, paid for by every working person in the country. If they try to "defund" Planned Parenthood they're taking money they don't even own. They should have no right to even TRY to do it much less be ALLOWED to accomplish it. They place their money into tax shelters that prevent them from ever needing to pay the federal portion of their taxes, translating as "it ain't their damn money to take." I have no idea why so few people know this but it's all true. I worked with tax codes, as a CPA, a Futures & Floor trader, as the manager of a bank, a Hedge Fund manger and with Mutual funds.
Don't sit by and watch as rich bastards take your money and give it to other rich bastards. They know damn well it's not their money and they need to be reminded by as many TAXpayers as possible.

Rob D., macroeconomics major w/ 30+ yrs experience

Anonymous

I hope PP does get defunded. I don't want my taxes being used for anything they do. If people could keep it in their pants and wait like you're supposed to, we wouldn't need them anyway. I'd rather the money not go to another "rich bastard" of course, but not to PP.

Aaron Ross

Trump only wants people to be legal immigrants in America. Is he trying to do this by slowing down immigration to bring it back to its historical norms is a possibility. But honesty population has increased and this will cause there to be more immigrants in America.
Should we not allow immigrants form Syria and other Muslim nations? This is a touchy subject and needs to be dealt with care. Good immigrant from Syria is a good thing and will help us develop their legal system and their government form. But there could be terrorist’s in this group and I understand why Trump would want to stop this type of immigration, but to stop all would not be good for our business and communications with the Muslim nations. So there would have to be a screening process that goes over and above the normal screenings for countries that we are at war with and where at war with. Especially when we have to defend our nations. And it is possible that at times of war and national defense we would have to stop all immigration from an active country that is fighting us or its people.
But if we are only protecting refugees from a country we are protecting them from and us from these refuges should be a top priority.
The wall built by Mexico will help protect our country from illegal immigration and drugs, and forced human trafficking but will not completely stop these problems.
The best way for this problem to stop is to help the Mexican country develop itself so that people will not need to come here to find work they will be able to make good money in their own country. Not that many American’s emigrate from this country to find work.
America Freedom is a dream for the whole world, many dream of coming to America to make it big and live a better way of life. The best way to fight immigration is to help these countries establish freedom and a better way of life. The way to do this is to help them build a better economic business model and a better government structure that is stable without corruption as well as create for them a new banking system with a new and more powerful monetary system to give them more buying power in the global markets. And this would be good for everyone around the world in the developed countries (cause these countries will be able to buy from us more rather than from us getting cheaper resources from them because of their week monetary system. This will create more jobs all around the world in developed countries as well as the underdeveloped. Because there would be an increased demand for America goods, Asian Goods, and European Goods. When the undeveloped countries can afford to buy developed countries goods, as well as more American goods-through the internet merchant ship of the world. We can teleport our products all over the world to the underdeveloped countries that work and get money that actually is worth more than it ever was.
Not only will they be able to buy a lot more products from the developed countries they will be able to manufacture and afford to buy their own products. Simple things like forks, spoons, bowls, clothing, and even electronics. They will also be able to sale these products to the developed nations as well as to their own people via the internet and create and build new stores in their own countries. This will build and create a stronger economic business structure in their country that is not possible right now because of the value of their monetary system and
Now it will take a stronger education system for them to know how to build electronics, but they can start with the basic’s buy working in and creating new manufacturing businesses in the third world countries. And when the work in these new manufacturing companies they can make money through the new monetary systems that we can help them build. Giving them the ability to buy the products they are manufacturing as well as sell them to the nations of the world through the internet in bulk and personal use’s minimum one order or maximum-manufacturing business output for the month. The worker will pay taxes to develop their governmental systems as well as make products that can be taxed to develop their countries. Increasing their way of life. This is very possible to do for any foreign underdeveloped countries. They need our help to do this.
Through developing these countries their will not be as many people wanting to immigrate to America. And we will make money for our governments buy sailing more products that can be terrified (if needed) and taxed. Rather than get our resources cheaper because their bill is not as valuable as other nations. We always would barter throughout history to do business then we learned how to use money to buy and trade, and the only reason money has power is because it is Accepted. So buy creating a strong monetary system all around the world will help the way of life for everyone a monetary system that is accepted. This does not mean that we all need one bill. It only means that everyone one’s money will have more value. Most people in these third world countries don’t have anything but a small tin hut that can cook you under the sun. But with an increased monetary system they can start to afford the pleasures of life. Through this we not only create jobs all around the world as well as wealth, but we also solve the problem of poverty all around the world.
I know we can do this I’m working on it right now just need people of power. Angel’s particularly. I know you can see this happening. Criticisms are welcome.

aaronross55@comcast.net
http://www.the-fallows.com

Anonymous

Please translate the entire website into Spanish, Somali, Arabic.... immigrants need the information on detentions and rights in their own languages. Please make this a priority.

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