Immigration Bill Betrays Fairness and Equality, Says ACLU of Tennessee

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
February 16, 2011 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Tennessee
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

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

NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) today responded to Senator Bill Ketron’s introduction of an unconstitutional immigration bill that betrays American values of fairness and equality.

Ketron’s “Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act” encourages racial profiling of people who appear or sound “foreign” by requiring law enforcement officials to demand the papers of any person they stop, regardless of whether the person is actually charged with anything. In practice, if people are not carrying state- or federally-issued ID with them, they will likely be detained solely due to a suspicion that they are undocumented, without necessarily being charged with a crime. Many U.S. citizens and lawful residents would undoubtedly be swept up in the application of such a law.

The bill further creates a police state by requiring every government official to act as a de facto Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent or risk litigation by any citizen of Tennessee, including potentially significant monetary consequences.

Bills that violate equal protection and due process by encouraging disparate treatment of a specific group of people under the law are unconstitutional and move the state of Tennessee backward instead of forward.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee:

“This extreme bill does not solve the problems of our broken immigration system and is completely out of step with Tennesseans’ values of fairness and equality. By inviting racial profiling, the bill diverts precious security resources toward false threats, creating distrust of law enforcement and jeopardizing public safety. In fact, this bill encourages the very kind of practice that we abhor in nondemocratic countries. While the government can legitimately control its borders, the power to detain and deport people must be exercised fairly and humanely, subject to our Constitution.”

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