April 17, 2013

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PHOENIX – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona today welcomed the release of an 844-page bill, negotiated by a bipartisan group of key senators, that aims to make substantive changes to immigration laws.

The following statement can be attributed to Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona:

The ACLU of Arizona welcomes the federal immigration reform bill announced by the Senate Gang of 8. This historic bill has the potential to advance the civil rights and liberties of all Arizonans and set the stage for a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 400,000 undocumented immigrants who currently live in our state.

While this legislation is an important first step, the ACLU of Arizona will continue to work to address threats to civil rights and liberties in the bill. The criminalization of migrant communities across Arizona due to local policies and state laws like SB 1070 continue to leave many vulnerable to detention and deportation.

Moving forward, we must ensure that individuals are not excluded from participating in this historic reform because of old or minor criminal offenses. This includes forgery and identity theft charges being aggressively pursued by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery against immigrants rounded-up by Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies during worksite raids that have terrorized our communities since 2007. As a result of these aggressive policies of Sheriff Arpaio and Bill Montgomery, hundreds of immigrants have been arrested, detained and deported for simply working to provide for their families.

As the bill moves through the legislative process, the ACLU of Arizona will also continue to push back against proposals to increase wasteful border spending. Officials throughout the region have acknowledged that enforcement resources are already at record levels and border communities are at their safest. Immigration reform must ensure that human rights and due process are protected in the border region and that border officials are held accountable for their current operations.

Read the ACLU's framework for immigration reform with core principles, urging policymakers to include critical priorities in order to ensure people's civil rights and liberties are protected.

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