Blog of Rights

Historic Decision Recognizing Right to Counsel for Group of Immigration Detainees

Historic Decision Recognizing Right to Counsel for Group of Immigration Detainees

By Esha Bhandari, Equal Justice Works Fellow, ACLU & Carmen Iguina, Equal Justice Works Fellow, ACLU of Southern California at 11:22am
In a landmark ruling yesterday, Federal District Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the federal government to provide legal representation for immigrant detainees in California, Arizona and Washington who have serious mental disabilities and are unable to represent themselves in immigration court. This is a historic decision — it is the first ever to recognize a right to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings for a group of immigrants. Unlike the criminal justice system, where judges are generally required to appoint counsel for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer, there are no safeguards in the immigration enforcement system to ensure the basic fairness of having legal representation for immigrants. As a result, over half of all individuals in immigration court — including 84% of detained individuals — must face the complex legal proceedings alone and unrepresented, while the government is always represented by a lawyer.
Mandatory E-Verify: A Giant Plunge Into a National ID System

Mandatory E-Verify: A Giant Plunge Into a National ID System

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:23pm

Today's release of an immigration reform proposal from the Gang of Eight raises a host of civil liberties issues, many of which the ACLU will undoubtedly be commenting on in the coming days and weeks.

Today, I'm focusing on our concerns with…

Americans Overwhelmingly Support a Fair Immigration System

Americans Overwhelmingly Support a Fair Immigration System

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:19am

For over 90 years the ACLU has defended the rights of everyone in the United States, whether born in this country or abroad, because the Constitution protects the civil liberties and civil rights of all of them.

The data from a new poll released…

On Eve of Immigration Reform Rollout, Immigration Detainees Win Right to Fair Hearing

On Eve of Immigration Reform Rollout, Immigration Detainees Win Right to Fair Hearing

By Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU at 4:51pm

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling that curtails one of the most wasteful and draconian features of our immigration lock-up system: the government's practice of putting immigration detainees behind bars for…

Beyond the Southwest Border - The CBC Expands the Immigration Debate

Beyond the Southwest Border - The CBC Expands the Immigration Debate

By Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 1:40pm

Most reports on immigration focus on Latino workers and the southwest border. However, there are many faces and backgrounds of American immigrants, and the breadth of obstacles created as a result of our broken system are far-reaching. This week the…

ACLU Lens: ACLU Responds to Gang of 8 Immigration Plan

ACLU Lens: ACLU Responds to Gang of 8 Immigration Plan

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 1:10pm

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…

Time is Now for Immigration Reform That Offers a Roadmap to Citizenship and Preserves Family Unity

Time is Now for Immigration Reform That Offers a Roadmap to Citizenship and Preserves Family Unity

By Vicki B. Gaubeca, ACLU of New Mexico at 11:25am

Immigration reform must not be contingent on the false premise that an airtight 2,000-mile border is required. Instead, Congress should turn to ameliorating the tragedy of family separation along the southern border.

Thousands of families from…

VICTORY!  Wyoming Lets the DREAMers Drive

VICTORY! Wyoming Lets the DREAMers Drive

By Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU at 1:22pm

This week, Wyoming confirmed that it will now provide driver’s licenses to young immigrants who came to the country as children, popularly known as “DREAMers.”  The decision is the latest victory for immigrant youth granted permission to…

International Human Rights Body Seeking Answers on U.S. Civil and Political Rights Record

International Human Rights Body Seeking Answers on U.S. Civil and Political Rights Record

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 4:16pm

An international human rights body is set to question the United States on its obligations under a key human rights treaty. The U.N. Human Rights Committee, an independent body of experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the International Covenant…

Needed in Immigration Overhaul: Counsel and Alternatives to Incarceration

Needed in Immigration Overhaul: Counsel and Alternatives to Incarceration

By Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 12:13pm

Imagine that you are a lawful resident married to a U.S. citizen serviceman who is deployed overseas, and you are looking for a job to help support your family. You find one, but unbeknownst to you, your employer, aiming to expedite the hiring process,…