The ACLU welcomed the bill summary released late last night by a bipartisan group of key senators – ‘the Gang of 8', and we eagerly await the introduction of complete bill text, expected later today.
For over 90 years the ACLU has defended the rights of all Americans, whether born in this country or somewhere else, because the Constitution protects the civil liberties and civil rights of all people. We will continue to serve in this critical role as the debate over the immigration reform bill begins. Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said:
The immigration reform bill has the potential to be a historic advance for the civil rights and liberties of immigrants and all Americans. The bill would allow millions of immigrants who contribute immeasurably to the vitality of this country to step forward on the road to citizenship.
While this legislation is certainly a breakthrough, it will have to be improved to address severe obstacles for many aspiring citizens. The roadmap to citizenship should not exclude people based on minor crimes or people who can't afford hefty fines. The bill needlessly expands wasteful border spending at a time when border communities are safe, enforcement resources are at record levels, and prior benchmarks have been met. Furthermore, the mandate to use job-killing, costly and privacy-invasive employment verification (E-verify) raises significant civil liberties concerns. The ACLU will fight every step of the way to ensure that immigration reform achieves citizenship and a fundamentally fair immigration system without harming anyone's civil rights and liberties.
The ACLU has been at the forefront of the immigrants' rights movement for 25 years. In addition to advocating for a common-sense federal immigration plan, the ACLU has helped block most parts of the Arizona-style anti-immigrant laws, advocates against inhumane and abusive detention and deportation practices and continues to highlight a range of problems such as E-Verify.
Earlier, the ACLU released a framework for immigration reform, which urges policymakers to include critical priorities in order to ensure people's civil rights and liberties are protected.