ACLU Urges Senate to Oppose Flawed Immigration Bill, Says Legislation Fails to Protect Due Process and Privacy

May 25, 2006 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


WASHINGTON – With a vote in the Senate on immigration reform pending, the American Civil Liberties Union urged lawmakers to oppose the flawed legislation that fails to protect privacy and due process rights.

“Our fundamental freedoms should not be undermined through a flawed immigration reform bill,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The Senate bill is filled with provisions that unnecessarily compromise our freedoms and privacy and place undue burdens on the American worker. The Senate must reject this unsound legislation.”

The House had already adopted its immigration reform bill late last year, with an “enforcement-only” approach to immigration. While the Senate bill had initially rejected a similar approach, recently adopted amendments have brought the Senate bill closer to the flawed approach taken by the House. For example, the Senate passed an amendment authorizing the building of 370 miles of fencing along the Mexican border, and an amendment to make English the official “national” language.

The ACLU, while opposing the requirement in the bill that all employers check all new hires against a government database, applauded the worker protection, due process and privacy protections that the Senate added to the employment verification provisions of the bill. Under the bill as amended, workers would have a real administrative and judicial process for challenging erroneous government data that results in denial of work, and could recover back pay if that happens. The ACLU called on the House to support those protections in the upcoming conference negotiations.

The ACLU also decried provisions in the bill that would expand the indefinite detention of non-citizens ordered deported to countries that will not accept them and that penalize as “smuggling” some humanitarian assistance provided to refugees by churches and other charitable organizations.

“The Senate bill must be rejected,” said Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “Congress must not pass an immigration bill until these flawed provisions are corrected.”

The ACLU letter to Senate on the immigration bill can be read at:

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Immigrants' Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Immigrants' Rights

Immigration Rights issue image

The fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection embodied in our Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to every person, regardless of immigration status.