Georgia teams up with ICE to target Latinos

In June 2011 while traveling on Lawrenceville Highway in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Bonnie Horton and her husband were stopped at a roadblock and surrounded by uniformed officers and police vehicles. Bonnie remembers seeing at least five cars pulled over on the side of the road and young children and babies in at least two of those cars.

All cars proceeding on that road were stopped at the roadblock. Most cars stopped for about a minute. As Bonnie and her husband approached the roadblock, they had their windows rolled down. She witnessed a man being taken out of one of the cars by officers, possibly being arrested. Alongside the same car stood a woman with a baby. Another car next to theirs had drivers and passengers inside who appeared to be Latino. She heard an officer asking them to provide proof of citizenship. However, Bonnie and her husband, who are Caucasian, were only asked to show proof of insurance and residence in Gwinnett County. They showed their driver’s licenses as evidence of residency, and were allowed to proceed without incident.

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Advocates Say Georgia Law Enforcement is Profiling, Increasing Immigrant Arrests

90.1FM WABE
Lisa George

A group of advocates for immigrants to Georgia says there has been a dramatic rise in the number of arrests and detainments of immigrants in the last few years.

Alicia Cruz says she was pulled over in Conyers about four months ago.

(Cruz speaks in Spanish followed by voice of translator): “My kids were with me, and the police officers kneeled my children down and pointed them, gun-pointed them.”

Cruz speaks very little English and says the officer spoke no Spanish. She says the officer took her to jail for driving without a license. She is currently out on bond, but she is undocumented and fears she will be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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New Report Details Prejudice and Pretext in Georgia's Hyper Immigration Enforcement

Federal ICE Access Programs and GA HB87 Driving Unprecedented Targeting and Deportation in the State

Today advocacy organizations publish a new report based on data made available through FOIA litigation with the state and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement that both outline the metastasizing growth of local police's involvement in immigration enforcement and the resulting patterns of prejudice and collateral deportation in local practice with little to no evidence of any relation to actual public safety efforts.

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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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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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