April 07, 2013
It's insane, but friends at Wilcox County High School in Georgia are being divided by race. Parents and students are sponsoring separate proms for white and black students and the school is washing their hands of the whole thing.
A diverse group of friends—who want to attend one of the best nights of their young lives together—are fighting back. They're trying to organize an integrated prom where everyone's welcome, but they could use some support from the school.
February 19, 2013
Following the USA Today story outlining ICE tactics to boost deportation numbers, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network released a briefing guide exposing ICE headquarters directives to Georgia and North Carolina field offices to disregard public safety concerns in order to meet self-imposed deportation quota requirements.
Adelina Nicholls, executive director of GLAHR adds, "The documents are damning evidence that the checkpoints that cover our state have nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with a rogue agency and its deportation dragnet. It confirms the claims our community has been making for years about the agency’s practices. Georgia police should be stopped from any more roadside checkpoints until it is clear that they are not being used for ICE's quota."
"These revelations highlighting ICE's actual game plan of aggressively targeting undocumented community members to meet the agency's deportation quotas are deeply disturbing. It is time for the administration to stop such tactics and put an end to unjust deportations," explains Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia.
Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, says, "The Obama Administration's decision to enlist police as deportation 'force multipliers' was motivated by a self-imposed deportation quota. These documents show that ICE tactics are expanding the agency's dragnet instead of narrowing its focus. Until President Obama takes concrete steps to reign in rogue agencies within DHS, his ostensible immigration reform goals will be put in jeopardy by actions that belie his words."
The Briefing Guide is available at:
October 23, 2012
What: Press Conference to Announce FOIA Lawsuit Against Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
When: 11:00am, Wednesday, October 24th, 2012.
Where: US District Court, Northern District of Georgia.
75 Spring Street Southwest, Atlanta, GA 30303
Who: Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and the ACLU of Georgia
The lawsuit to be filed tomorrow by GLAHR and the ACLU of Georgia, seeks public records documenting the effects of Georgia’s increasing involvement in immigration enforcement, including information that will shed light on increasing reports of racial profiling and police abuse. The two organizations requested the records over six months ago. The lawsuit alleges that DHS and ICE have failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, and demands the release of the requested records.
The impact of Georgia’s experiment with immigration enforcement—through 287(g) agreements, the Secure Communities program, and HB 87—is largely unstudied. The records sought in the lawsuit will reveal who is being targeted for immigration enforcement, and how increased immigration enforcement by police is impacting public safety and civil rights.
The two plaintiffs will hold a press conference to announce their suit at US District Court, Northern District of Georgia. 75 Spring Street Southwest, Atlanta, GA 30303 at 11:00am on Wednesday the 24th.
August 30, 2012
By blocking Georgia’s attempts to criminalize acts of hospitality, faith, and conscience, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a decision that affects the daily lives of many people in Georgia.
One of these is Everitt Howe, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, a caseworker for his church’s community service program. Howe regularly accompanies and drives families and individuals, including those who are undocumented, to hospital visits or other appointments. He fears that could be found criminally liable. Because of people like Howe, we are pleased the court blocked this fundamentally un-American provision.
The ruling was issued pursuant to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations charging that the extreme law endangers public safety, invites racial profiling of people of color and others who look or sound “foreign,” and interferes with federal law. The court’s ruling made it clear that the state cannot put into effect policies that could interfere with the federal government’s regulation of immigration. The court struck down the provision criminalizing daily interactions with undocumented individuals, which would have made people vulnerable to arrest and detention for acts of kindness.
Another part of the law before the court was the “show-me-your-papers” provision. The court reiterated there are limits on such laws under the Supreme Court’s decision in the Arizona case. It left the door open to future challenges.
HB 87 promotes racial profiling by giving police officers discretion to determine what information is “sufficient” to prove a person’s identity and choose who to subject to an investigation. This will lead to the profiling of anyone who looks or sounds “foreign.” The statute undermines fundamental American values of fairness and equal protection.
Law enforcement leaders and police chiefs around the country have cautioned against putting local police in the position of enforcing federal immigration laws for fear it will alienate the communities endanger the public. Many immigrants will not come forward with crime information for fear they will be detained and investigated. As ACLU of Georgia investigations show, immigrant communities in Cobb and Gwinnett already fear the police. They are reluctant to report crime because of these counties’ involvement in immigration enforcement. This has led to an atmosphere of terror and isolation for immigrants and less-safe communities.
Take the 2009 case of a woman who called 911 to stop her partner from assaulting her. Cobb County officers relied on the abuser’s account of what happened, as she spoke little English. Her abuser’s side of the story was far from honest. She was separated from her infant daughter, spent five days in jail and was placed in deportation.
The ACLU and our partner organizations will forge ahead until unconstitutional provisions of HB 87 are struck down – or until this racial profiling law is repealed in its entirety.
July 24, 2012
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia was joined by more than a dozen organizations today in issuing a letter to Immigration Enforcement Review Board (the Board) Chairman Benjamin J. Vinson laying out concerns with how the Board might apply the powers granted to it in the case ofMichael Dale Smith v. City of Vidalia. The letter emphasized that despite Mr. Smith’s allegations concerning Lark Industries and other businesses within the city of Vidalia, any investigation the Vidalia review panel conducts must be restricted to onlypublicentities. The letter questioned why a review panel was created to investigate Mr. Smith’s accusations against Vidalia in the first place when Board members have described his complaint as “vague” and lacking in rather important specific details such as names, dates, and locations. The letter asked for clarification as to how Mr. Smith’s complaint actually met theprima faciestandard that the Board’s rules require before a complaint may be considered by the Board. Finally, the letter requested explanation as to what authority the review panel possesses that allows it to investigate alleged violations of Georgia immigration laws that are said to have occurred before the creation of the Board, and what authority the Board possesses to potentially issue sanctions for violations that are found to have occurred prior to the Board’s creation.
“We are deeply concerned that following the Smith decision, the Board has authorized its complaint process to amount to what is essentially a fishing expedition,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.
The letter can be viewed here: http://www.acluga.org/files/2013/4313/9383/LettertoIERB7-24-2012.pdf
July 17, 2012
ATLANTA – Georgia civil liberties and community-based organizations today joined organizations from around the country to renew their calls on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to end 287(g) in Georgia. In late May, the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Coalicion de Lideres Latinos (CLILA), and Georgia Detention Watch submitted specific cases to ICE in each of the four counties currently with a 287(g) Agreement illustrating the harmful impact of the program.
“As the ACLU of Georgia’s reports on Cobb and Gwinnett and further documentation have illustrated, 287(g) has torn families apart and led to terror and isolation in Georgia communities,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia. “It is time for ICE to end this racial profiling program in Georgia.”
The ACLU of Georgia also has a complaint pending with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS CRCL) asking the agencies to initiate an investigation into racial profiling and discriminatory policing practices in Cobb and Gwinnett.
“Despite the ‘intended’ purpose of the 287(g) program to make our communities safer, in practice, it has done the opposite,” said Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR. “By essentially condoning racial profiling against immigrants, 287(g) has had devastating consequences: Many immigrants in Georgia are now fearful of driving, even between work, home, and church, and afraid of reaching out to law enforcement for help. Entire areas have been deserted following intense enforcement, devastating local businesses.”
The organizations also signed onto a July 16 national letter calling on the Obama Administration to end immigration partnerships with local police in Arizona and states with laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, including Georgia.
“The human cost of implementing this program is high, since this initiative has caused widespread fear among citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants alike. Business owners, educators, and religious leaders are all concerned about the impact,” said America Gruner, President of CLILA. “Most people who have been detained in Whitfield County are workers, moms taking their children to school, and students going to classes. 287(g) is unjust, unnecessary, and inhumane. It has to go.”
The ACLU of Georgia’s report on implementation of 287(g) in Cobb: “Terror and Isolation in Cobb: How Unchecked Police Power under 287(g) Has Torn Families Apart and Threatened Public Safety"
The ACLU of Georgia’s report on implementation of 287(g) in Gwinnett: “The Persistence of Racial Profiling in Gwinnett, Time for Accountability, Transparency, and an End to 287(g),” can be viewed here:
The national letter which the Georgia groups signed onto can be viewed here: http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/sites/default/files/SB1070Letter.pdf
June 25, 2012
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia, in conjunction with other civil liberties and community organizations, recently sent a letter to Apple regarding allegations that customers have twice been denied the right to purchase merchandise in their stores in suburban Atlanta on the basis of race. In both cases, the customers denied merchandise were of Iranian descent.
May 01, 2012
As the first year anniversary of the signing into law of Georgia’s House Bill 87 approaches, the ACLU Foundation of Georgia today released an updated version of Frequently Asked Questions about the Georgia Racial Profiling Law. The pamphlet includes information about the various sections of law and their implementation, the legal challenge, where the law now stands, as well as the negative impact of the law on Georgia’s economy and reputation. Download the pamphlet for more information.