Georgia #Not1More Looks to Prevent Future ICE Abuses
Members of the Georgia #Not1More coalition today announced the latest victory in their efforts to end unconstitutional detention per ICE detainer requests in Georgia.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey L. Mann has announced that, effective immediately, he will end submission to federal detainer requests, a centerpiece of the failed Secure Communities deportation quota program, without a warrant or other sufficie
“I requested and received a legal review of this practice,” said Sheriff Mann. “The law does not allow us to hold anyone without probable cause. If our judicial system determines that an individual should no longer be held in custody, it is not in my authority to countermand that decision. We all benefit from a nation of laws that regulate the ways people can be detained, and we should be grateful that is the case.”
Representatives of the Georgia #Not1More coalition welcomed the Sheriff’s announcement and will continue to carefully monitor the implementation of the DHS initiative replacing Secure Communities, Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), due to fundamental concerns with police-ICE collaboration exemplified in previous ICE experiments.
“Rejecting ICE’s detainer requests makes all Georgians safer and brings DeKalb County policy in line with the Constitution. We’re glad to see Sheriff Mann taking proactive measures to address the harm to both public safety and community trust in law enforcement that involvement in federal deportation efforts has caused. We will continue to work with the Sheriff to create a bright line between law enforcement and federal deportation efforts to protect our families and prevent ICE programs from violating anyone’s rights regardless of what new name the agency gives to its quota pursuits.” –Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR).
“SONG and the Georgia #Not1More coalition are heartened by this decision, and we hope that Sheriff Mann’s action on this reflects further commitment on behalf of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department to work with immigrant communities and our allies post-implementation. We have directly experienced the harm inflicted on our communities by ICE, and with the recent political maneuvers at the federal level, it is increasingly important for our communities to remain vigilant and aware of how this implementation will happen in Georgia.” – Paulina Helm-Hernandez, Southerners On New Ground (SONG).
“We Commend Sheriff Mann for putting an end to the unconstitutional practice of prolonging individuals’ detention per ICE detainer requets. This action is sure to increase community trust in the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. Going forward, we will monitor the implementation of the new DHS program, PEP, and will document and take action on any violations resulting from continued local law enforcement entanglement with ICE.” – Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia.
Georgia #Not1More coalition is a coalition made up of: Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Southerners On New Ground (SONG), US Human Rights Network, ACLU of Georgia, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Jobs with Justice, Georgia WAND, Racial Action Justice Center, coalicion de lideres latinos-CLILA, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Southeastern Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN), Women Watch Afrika, Project South, Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America, Georgia Detention Watch, GA Moral Mondays, and Atlanta American Friends Service Committee.
Reports are mounting of a living nightmare in Lumpkin, Georgia, at Stewart, a 1,750-bed detention facility housing immigrants facing potential deportation.
According to multiple interviews with detained immigrants at Stewart, they are dealing with maggots in food, improper medical care, sweltering temperatures, and in many cases no communication with staff due to no translators on site. The Corrections Corporation of America operates the facility for profit, adding fuel to an already roaring fire of opposition
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.
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.
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.
Critics say drones can intrude on the privacy of the law-abiding public.
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is defending the government surveillance program revealed to be gathering call logs from millions of Verizon phone subscribers.
Speaking after a conference in downtown Atlanta, Iskason said it’s been an important tool in preventing terrorist attacks.
“I can’t talk about some of the things that I know with regard to what our security procedures are, but I am satisfied that there’s no violation of the civil rights of an American citizen in there.”
The National Security Agency and others in the intelligence community are authorized to collect the call logs under 2001’s Patriot Act. Congress maintains oversight and federal judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court must approve all data requests. In 2011, Congress renewed the Patriot Act for an additional four years.
Protestors gathered in Atlanta Tuesday to rally against the nation’s drone strike program. They demonstrated outside a Buckhead hotel currently hosting a national conference on drone aircraft.
As nearby cars whizzed by Peachtree Street, long-time Atlanta civil rights advocate and Air Force veteran Joe Beasley said the drone strikes need to stop.
“I would implore President Obama to move away from these drones. It’s just deplorable. It’s just cowardice,” said Beasley.
He was flanked by about two dozen protestors with signs calling for an end to the nation’s drone strike program.
The rally comes just a week after the president vowed to dramatically reduce drone strikes and make the program more transparent. He said there'd be a new emphasis on capturing suspects instead of killing them and targeting only those who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the U.S. He also pledged to transfer oversight of the program from the CIA to the Pentagon, a move that would make more information available to the public.
But at the rally, Georgia ACLU attorney Azadeh Shahshahani said the president didn't go far enough.
“To the extent that there’s going to be extra oversight, that’s good, but it doesn’t end the problem that the program is going to continue and people far from any battlefield without charge or trial are going to be killed,” said Shahshahani.
A recent Gallup poll shows 65 percent of Americans support the use of drone strikes against suspected terrorists based overseas. That number drops to 41 percent when targeting U.S. citizens in other countries who are suspected of terrorism.
Speaking at a press conference in Washington after the president’s counterterrorism remarks, Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued the use of covert drone strikes remains a vital tool in the War on Terror.
“To open the books, so to speak, on the drone program does not make America a safer place to live.”
And at an event held Tuesday in Sandy Springs, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson called drone technology “remarkable” and expressed support for the continued use of drones in intelligence-gathering and terrorist assassinations.
“The day we decide we are no longer going to participate is the day the terrorists have won that battle and they will hold us to cower in fear,” said Isakson.
But Georgia State University political science professor Chip Carey said at the rally the use of targeted drone strikes is “shortsighted.” He argued drones kill civilians and thereby breed more terrorists. Plus, he said, the technological gap is closing quickly.
“Between 50 to 70 countries have drone technology now including Iran. It’s only a matter of time before what goes around will come around."
Carey argued drones pose as much danger as chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and therefore should be tightly controlled. He wants the U.S. to enter into a binding international arms treaty banning their use.
Atlantans alarmed by the proliferation of targeted assassinations, surveillance and spying by drones will hold apress conference and protest at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 28 outside the Grand HyattAtlantahotel,3300 Peachtree Road NE.
That will be the opening morning of the international convention of the drone industry at the Grand Hyatt. The convention promises to bring together “representatives from academia, industry, federal/state agencies, government, the private sector, users, practitioners and engineers” who are working to expand the use of drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles” (http://www.uasconferences.com/).
“I oppose the use of drones and other forms of targeted assassinations because of the likelihood that they will cause proliferation, an arms race and increasing use of drones around the world,” said Professor Henry (Chip) Carey of Georgia State University. “I am also concerned about the lack of democratic accountability for targeting and civilian casualties, which has backfired as a counter-terrorism technique.”
“The CIA and the military are carrying out illegal ‘targeted killings’ of people far from any battlefield, without charge or trial,” adds Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and president of the National Lawyers Guild. “The executive branch claims the unchecked authority to put the names of citizens and others on ‘kill lists’ on the basis of secret evidence. The government must be held to account when it carries out such illegal killings in violation of the Constitution and international law.”
Other speakers will include Joe Beasley, president of African Ascension and southeast regional director of Rainbow Push; Courtney Hanson, public outreach director, Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND); and Sobukwe Shukura of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party. Dawn Gibson, co-coordinator of the Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition, will moderate the press conference.
Rallies will continue from 9 to 10 a.m. each day of the convention, which ends Friday, May 31.
The Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society presents:
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP
One Atlantic Center
1201 West Peachtree Street
To what extent does the United States Constitution and current federal law authorize the use of military drones in counter-terrorism operations? Come hear a panel discussion on the constitutionality of President Obama’s policy on the use of drones, including the limits to their use, whether and when they could be used on American citizens, and the merits of constitutional concerns raised on the political left and the political right.