Back to News & Commentary

This Week in Civil Liberties (10/28/11)

The text, "Week in Review."
From victories in Florida and Missouri to the anniversary of the Patriot Act.
The text, "Week in Review."
Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
Share This Page
October 28, 2011

In which states did ACLU lawsuits put a halt to suspicionless, mandatory drug testing?

Which Senators are working to show that the Patriot Act has a secret interpretation that violates the rights of American citizens?

What can be done to protect immigration detainees vulnerable to being sexually abused while in detention?

Victories in Florida and Missouri: No Illegal Drug Testing
On Monday we got some great news in Florida: following an ACLU lawsuit, the state will no longer be allowed to make people applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) take a drug test in order to get the assistance they need. And in Missouri on Tuesday, a federal judge ruled a policy at Linn State Technical College that would have mandated students pass a drug test as a condition of enrollment is clearly unconstitutional.

The Patriot Act, 10 Years Later
This past Wednesday marked 10 years since the Patriot Act was enacted. And in the past decade, lawmakers have authorized extension after extension, refusing to make any meaningful changes to the law. This despite the fact that — according to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) — there are two versions of the Patriot Act: one the public sees, and a secret interpretation that the government keeps to itself. One section of the Patriot Act is particularly troubling: Section 215, which gives the FBI unprecedented authority to obtain “any tangible thing” for an investigation related to international terrorism or espionage.

Battling Prison Rape: Immigration Detainees Deserve Protection, Too
After fleeing Mexico to the United States to escape persecution for her sexual orientation, Mayra Soto was incarcerated in an immigration detention facility, where she was raped by an immigration detention officer.

Immigration detainees are extremely vulnerable to being sexually assaulted and abused, just one of the many hidden horrors of our nation’s inhumane immigration detention system. Language and cultural barriers, histories of state-sanctioned abuse in their home countries and a fear that reporting abuse will result in deportation all increase the likelihood that detainees will not feel safe reporting sexual abuse and that perpetrators will not be held accountable. Act now by joining the ACLU in demanding that the Obama administration ensure that all immigration detainees have the full protection of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you’d like to see changes. Share your thoughts:

Learn more about your rights: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Learn More About the Issues on This Page