Previously Unreleased Data Shows Prejudice Not Public Safety in Georgia's Hyper Enforcement of Immigration Law

FOIA Suit Results in Telling Picture of Local Law Enforcement's Involvement in Federal Policies

What: Press Conference Releasing New Study "Prejudice, Policing, and Public Safety"
Where:180 Spring Street SW, Atlanta, GA
When:11:00am, Thursday July 31st, 2014
Who: Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, ACLU of Georgia, and Georgia #Not1More Campaign

On Wednesday morning, advocates will release a new study analyzing data received as a result of a FOIA lawsuit with ICE that outlines for the first time the practice and impact of local immigration enforcement efforts that grew under federal programs and the state law passed in 2011.

Families victimized by unjust deportation policy will speak out as part of the Georgia #Not1More campaign seeking to move Dekalb and Fulton Counties to join more than 130 jurisdictions nationwide in rejecting the ICE hold requests to keep people in extended detention due to its negative impact on public safety and constitutional violations.

The report will be made available at the press conference.

The ACLU of Georgia and Civil Liberties Coalition Urge Atlanta City Council to ‎Adopt Reasonable Limitations on Police Use of Drones

The ACLU of Georgia was joined yesterday by a civil liberties coalition asking the Atlanta City Council to adopt reasonable limitations on the governmental use of drones for surveillance. To find out more about the effort, see our fact sheet here.

License plate scanners are lowering traffic violations - ACLU says it invades your privacy

It's a crime-fighting tool that comes with controversy. The American Civil Liberties Union says they’re concerned about driver’s private information being easily accessible once their tags are scanned.

Chad Brock is the Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Georgia.

There have been instances throughout the country in which this type of information is being shared. We'll consider sending an opens records request to try to get a little bit more information about how they intend to use this, what kind of policies are in place to prohibit this type of information being used in the way that violates the privacy or rights of these individuals," said Brock.

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Atlanta City Council eyes drone regulations

A civil liberties coalition including the ACLU of Georgia met with the Atlanta City Council yesterday to advocate for adoption of regulations on use of drones by law enforcement.

The military uses them to track down the enemy. Law enforcement agencies around the country deploy them to catch criminals.

Justine Story, a homeowner in northeast Atlanta, hates the idea of robotic eyes flying over metro Atlanta watching everyday citizens.

"I wouldn't want a drone looking in my bedroom window," Story said.

Supporters of drones contend the technology can be a powerful tool for fighting crime and terrorism.

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Limit the abusive Use of SWAT

Georgia State Legislature

Declare an emergency session of the State Legislature to limit the use of SWAT to situations in which it's truly necessary to save a life. We cannot wait till the next regular session in 2015.

Outrageous! Police should serve and protect our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.

Nearly 80% of the SWAT raids the ACLU studied* were to serve search warrants, usually in drug cases. SWAT teams are forcing their way into people’s homes, often in the middle of the night, using paramilitary weapons and tactics and doing needless damage to people and property. Poor communities and communities of color bear the brunt of this unnecessary force.

It does not have to be this way. We can make sure that police honor their mission to protect and serve, by ensuring that hyper-aggressive military tools and tactics are only used in situations that are truly “high risk.”

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Creative Loafing interviews ACLU of Georgia's Azadeh Shahshahani about her immigrant experience

9 men and women share their voices, their stories

Forty-four years ago, your chances of hearing a foreign accent in Georgia were slim. At the time, less than 1 percent of the state's population had been born abroad. But in the decades since, Georgia, once shackled by segregation, has become one of the more diverse states in the union. In 2012, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 10 percent of the state's population was born in another country.

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Reproductive Rights Law Training

On June 31, 2014, ACLU law clerks attended the second annual “Atlanta Summer Intern Training on Reproductive Rights Law and Justice,” sponsored by Law Students for Reproductive Justice and hosted by the Feminist Women’s Health Center. The training was an educational and enlightening experience. It was attended by summer law clerks and interns from several legal and advocacy organizations that work to further the reproductive rights of women in Georgia. The four-hour training focused on key reproductive justice issues in Georgia that went well beyond the traditional debate over abortion rights, and included a discussion on the rights of women to give birth with dignity and the obstacles that many women face in accessing much needed health services.

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Georgia Immigrant Detainees ‘Riot’ Over Maggot-Filled Food

More than two dozen detainees at a notorious immigration detention center in Georgia staged a hunger strike and protest last week over inedible food, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called the protest at Stewart Detention Center a “riot” that required that detainees be “segregated for disciplinary purposes,” according to the AJC.

The ACLU and Georgia Detention Watch filed a complaint raising alarm about a hunger strike that detainees began on or around June 12, during which hundreds of detainees threw their food away. Detainees have complained that their food is often filled with maggots, or that the same water used to boil eggs is reused to brew coffee. Detainees who work in food preparation have also complained of a roach infestation in the facility’s kitchen. Detainees were frequently served rotten food.

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Worsened Conditions at Stewart Led to Hunger Strike Last Week

ACLU of Georgia and Georgia Detention Watch Reiterate Calls for Closure of Facility

The ACLU Foundation of Georgia and Georgia Detention Watch express grave concern about news of a hunger strike at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia last week. Discontent has long been brewing over the poor quality of the food, desperately inadequate medical care, and unlivable conditions. A group of detained immigrants decided to organize together in protest. According to multiple reports, instead of addressing the complaints, guards placed hunger strikers and the entire unit on lock-down. The ACLU of Georgia and Georgia Detention Watch call for transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and reiterate their previous calls for closure of this corporate-run facility.

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Scout’s Honor: Young Advocates learn about their Civil Liberties

The ACLU Foundation of Georgia joined the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers in the Georgia State Bar building to help Georgia Girls Scouts learn about being Junior Advocates. While the Girl Scout Juniors worked on requirements to earn the Inside Government Badge they learned about how law is relevant to their every day Civil Liberties. After briefly introducing the Girls Scouts to the mission and goals of the ACLU, Law Clerks and Fellow Ese Okuma presented on Student’s Rights in Schools. The presentation began with students learning about some of the issues with School Dress Code policies. Student’s discussed the meaning of Symbolic Speech through illustrations of popular music artists like Lady Gaga, and applied the 1st and 14th amendment to determine what restrictions on dress code may or may not be protected by the constitution.

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Georgia Has Little-Known For-Profit Prisons for Immigrants; ACLU Investigation of Such Prisons Reveals Abuse, Inhumane Conditions

Report Shows Federal Bureau of Prisons Incentivizes Mistreatment, Shields
Immigrant Prisons from Scrutiny

McRae Correctional and D. Ray James Correctional facilities in McRae and Folkston, Georgia are two of the 13 little-known CAR (Criminal Alien Requirement) prisons for immigrants in the United States. For the new report Warehoused and Forgotten: Immigrants Trapped in Our Shadow Private Prison Industry, the ACLU and the ACLU of Texas have investigated CAR prisons in Texas run by Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, the same private prison companies that operate McRae and D. Ray James. The report reveals inhumane conditions and egregious mistreatment of immigrants in prisons that enrich the for-profit prison industry at tremendous costs to taxpayers.

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