The ACLU fights to make sure that the rights and liberties guaranteed by our constitution apply to all immigrants, regardless of immigration status. We challenge the serious civil rights violations faced by immigrant communities.
What You Need to Know
Our immigration detention system locks up hundreds of thousands of immigrants unnecessarily every year, exposing detainees to brutal and inhumane conditions of confinement at massive costs to American taxpayers. Recently, mothers and children, who are mainly asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America, have been detained in family detention centers.
The immigration system contains an unnecessary and unconstitutional lack of rights that is unheard of in the criminal justice system. No one should be in immigration detention without a constitutionally adequate bond hearing in which the government bears the burden of showing that detention is necessary—to protect against danger to the community or flight risk—and that no alternative release conditions would suffice.
Our system should ensure access to counsel in immigration proceedings, as effective judicial review is an integral component of due process. More than half of individuals in immigration court proceedings are currently unrepresented, including 84 percent of those in detention.
In recent years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has detained and deported record numbers of people from the United States. Many of ICE’s removal tactics take away even the right to a fair hearing in court, as the government rushes to judgment and tries to force people through a rubber-stamp system that ignores individual circumstances.
The ACLU and its partners have prevailed at getting discriminatory laws in states, cities, and towns across the country overturned and will keep fighting to ensure that such laws stay off the books. In addition, the ACLU is working on proactive legislation that offers immigrants the opportunity to attend school, seek professional licenses, and apply for driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.