CIVIL RIGHTS COALTION PURSUES OPEN RECORDS REQUESTS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN 28 GEORGIA JURISDICTIONS

July 20, 2013

Coalition Announces Next Steps to Reduce Harm from What Remains of State’s Anti-Immigrant HB 87


Following the Federal District Court’s order today in Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, et al. v. Deal, et al., a coalition of civil rights groups announced the next steps in their effort to dismantle the state’s anti-immigrant law, HB 87. Significant parts of the law have been blocked by the courtsbut one provision remains that allows police officers to ask the federal government to verify the immigration status of individuals who are lawfully detained on state-law grounds. It does not allow for stops, arrests or even extending detention just for immigration verification. Today’s order holds that challenges to that provision’s implementation must be brought in other suits, rather than the original case that the coalition filed before HB 87’s effective date in 2011.

Unprecedented Collaboration Between Georgia Law Enforcement and Federal Immigration Officials Prompts Lawsuit Demanding Transparency

October 24, 2012

DHS and ICE violate Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to six month old request.

Atlanta, GA - October 24, 2012

Today the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The suit 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. With representation by the ACLU of Georgia, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, 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.

Azadeh Shahshahani, counsel for the ACLU of Georgia commented, “Transparency is integral to a democratic society. Yet by withholding the records, ICE is preventing the shining of much needed light on the extent of the collaboration between this agency and local police in Georgia.”

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.

Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR explained, "Immigrant communities have felt the aggression inside their own local neighborhoods since the implementation of 287(g) and the Secure Communities Program. HB87 increased the anti-immigrant climate and now overwhelming amounts of family members in our communities have been detained under minor traffic violations, as many of them are being arrested without a 'probable cause.'

Throughout the state of Georgia we are organizing to keep racial profiling out of our communities and we want to be informed about the programs that we see contributing to it. We shouldn't have to sue for transparency but if the Department of Homeland Security and ICE refuse to honor the law, we will do what it takes to shine a light on what is happening in Georgia."

The complaint can be viewed here: http://www.acluga.org/files/9413/5108/5027/GLAHR_v_ICE_Complaint.pdf

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Unprecedented Collaboration Between Georgia Law Enforcement and Federal Immigration Officials Prompts Lawsuit Demanding Transparency

October 23, 2012

DHS and ICE violate Freedom of Information Act by failing to adequately respond to six month old request.

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.

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ALCU Foundation of Georgia Seeks Details on Automatic License Plate Readers from Georgia Agencies as Part of Massive Nationwide Request

July 30, 2012

The ACLU Foundation of Georgia joined more than 36 ACLU affiliates today in sending open records requests to local law enforcement agencies on how they use automatic license plate readers (ALPR) to track and record Americans’ movements in 38 states.

The ACLU Foundation of Georgia also sent Open Records Requests to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) to learn how the federal government funds and uses ALPR technology.

ALPRs are cameras mounted on patrol cars or on stationary objects along roads – such as telephone poles or the underside of bridges –that snap a photograph of every license plate that enters their fields of view. Typically, each photo is time, date, and GPS-stamped, stored, and sent to a database, which provides an alert to a patrol officer whenever a match or “hit” appears.

ALPRs are spreading rapidly around the country, but the public has little information about how they are used to track motorists’ movements, including how long data collected by ALPRs is stored, and whether local police departments pool this information in state, regional or national databases. If ALPRs are being used as a tool for mass routine location tracking and surveillance and to collect and store information not just on people suspected of crimes, but on every single motorist, the American people should know that so that they can voice their concerns. People have a right to know whether our police departments are using these ALPRs in a limited and responsible manner, or whether they are keeping records of our movements for months or years for no good reason. ALPRs have already proven controversial. Just last month the Drug Enforcement Administration withdrew its request to install ALPRs along certain portions of Interstate 15 in Utah after they were met with resistance by local lawmakers.

Serious privacy concerns arise when tracking and recording people’s movements. Where we go can reveal a great deal about us, including visits to doctor’s offices, political meetings, and friends. We need legal protections to limit the collection, retention and sharing of our travel information. The information request issued today is a first step.

More information about the requests is available at: aclu.org/plates