December 05, 2013
November 20, 2013
On Friday, November 22 at 10 am, Georgia Detention Watch will hold its sixth annual vigil at Corrections Corporation of America-operated Stewart Detention Center. The vigil coincides with the release of Detention Watch Network’s (DWN) report, “Expose and Close, One Year Later: The Absence of Accountability in Immigration Detention,” The report documents the current state of the immigration detention system, afflicted by deaths and suicides, subpar medical and mental healthcare, inedible food, and arbitrary restrictions on visitation and access to legal resources.
While the congressional debate on immigration reform ensues, the mass detention of immigrants across the U.S. has been largely ignored. Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains approximately 2,000 immigrant men. Stewart is one of Georgia’s four immigration detention centers and the largest in the U.S.
October 31, 2013
June 18, 2013
A new study looking at marijuana arrests across the country shows that African-Americans are arrested significantly more often than white people throughout the United States. And few areas display that trend more than Fulton and DeKalb counties.
The American Civil Liberties Union, looking at pot possession arrests between 2001 and 2010, found that black people who are found with weed are almost 4 times more likely to be sent to jail than white people who get caught with pot. The nonprofit, which compiled the study using the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting Program and U.S. Census data, says the analysis is the first of its kind to look at the specific issue on a county-by-county level in all 50 states:
"[Marijuana arrests have] needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, had a staggeringly disproportionate impact on African-Americans, and comes at a tremendous human and financial cost," the ACLU's report says. "The price paid by those arrested and convicted of marijuana possession can be significant and linger for years, if not a lifetime."
June 05, 2013
A federal judge in Arizona recently held that Sheriff Arpaio and his Deputies have engaged in racial profiling against Latinos in Maricopa County. The decision found that policies and practices of Arpaio and his office are discriminatory, violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The ruling which came asresult of a lawsuit by the ACLU and other organizations vindicated not only immigrant communities in Maricopa County who have long endured Arpaio's reign of terrorbut also communities across the country including here in Georgia where programs leading to racial profiling such as 287(g) have been in effect for several years.
287(g) enlists local police as immigration officers and has been active in four Georgia counties - Cobb, Gwinnett, Whitfield, and Hall.
June 05, 2013
Human rights advocates across the country and in Georgia are calling upon their Congressional representatives to vote in favor of an amendment proposed by Rep. Polis (D-CO) that would right grave wrongs in the current House appropriations bill.
This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the country's 2014 budget with allocations that directly impact both the safety and civil rights of Georgia residents. As currently proposed, the budget will provide an additional $44 million dollars above the White House's requested amount for the 287(g) program that enlists local police as immigration officers and has been active in Cobb, Gwinnett, Whitfield, and Dalton for several years. The program has had devastating consequences, including diminished community trust in the police, as documented by the ACLU of Georgia in reports on Cobb and Gwinnett.
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.