President Obama Emphasizes Need For Comprehensive Immigration Reform That Respects Civil Rights

July 1, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org 

WASHINGTON – In a speech at American University today, President Obama emphasized the need for federal immigration reform that respects the civil rights of those in this country. The American Civil Liberties Union strongly supports responsible reforms to U.S. immigration policy and calls on political leaders to ensure that any legislation protects the civil rights, civil liberties and human rights of everyone in the United States, regardless of his or her immigration status.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

"We commend President Obama for recognizing the need to reform our immigration system on the federal level rather than allow a patchwork of state and local laws that lead to the violation of civil rights and alienation of communities from law enforcement. The recently enacted Arizona law, which the ACLU and others are challenging in court, is a prime example of misguided laws that inevitably lead to egregious racial profiling and discrimination. We urge the Obama administration to bring a federal challenge to the Arizona law through litigation as soon as possible and to take all actions in its power to prevent the law's implementation.

"President Obama is also correct that heavy border security is not a singular answer to addressing immigration issues. Expanded border enforcement could cause more civil liberties abuses in U.S. communities on the southwest border. Any border enforcement must be conducted in a constitutional manner with strict accountability and oversight to avoid abuse.

"Expanding E-Verify, an electronic employment verification program promoted by the president today, is not an answer but would lead to discrimination, burden American workers and deny employment to authorized workers.

"We encourage President Obama to work with Congress to implement immigration policies that respect the Constitution and the civil liberties of all within our borders."

The ACLU's statement on the necessary elements of meaningful immigration reform is available at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/aclu-statement-immigration-reform

More information about the ACLU's lawsuit, including information on co-counsel and plaintiffs, can be found at: www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights-racial-justice/aclu-and-civil-rights-groups-file-legal-challenge-arizona-racial-pr

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