DAY of OUTRAGE
Enough is Enough!
ts time to make Atlanta a better city for all of us.
We demand an end to the practices of profiling and harassment.
We demand solutions that do not criminalize our communities.
Tuesday, February 25th
Atlanta City Hall, Mitchell Street Entrance
2:00 Press Conference and Rally
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.
This month Mark Lyttle, an American citizen from North Carolina who has mental disabilities, received a 175 thousand dollar settlement from the federal government. A federal district court in Georgia found the government wrongfully deported him Mexico.
In 2008 Lyttle was inexplicably referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. That’s despite the fact the bi-polar man had never been to Mexico, shares no Mexican heritage and spoke no Spanish.But he was detained and deported to Mexico with just three dollars in his pocket.
Azadeh Shahshahani with the Georgia ACLU , which represented him, says Lyttle spent 125 days wandering central America.
She says he was" living off the streets and homeless shelters, and begging. And he had no way to prove his identity either, so he was imprisoned at times.“
Ultimately, someone with the American Embassy in Guatemala helped him get back to the U.S.
ICE has refused comment on Lyttle’s case. A spokesman says they now offer a 24-hour hotline to help detainees. ICE personnel will collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant Field office for immediate action. Shahshahani says that is a good first step. But she says people with mental disabilities need a court-appointed lawyer to ensure their rights are protected during the deportation process.
She says “The ACLU has done a study on documented cases where individuals who could not even remember their own names were left to languish in detention centers with nobody really caring what happens to them until an attorney or advocate discovers their fate.”
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.