CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sirine Shebaya, Liman Fellowship Attorney, email@example.com
BALTIMORE - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland today spoke out to express that the federal immigration reform bill released this week (S. 744, Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013) has the potential to be an historic advance for the civil rights and liberties of immigrants and all Americans. It will put millions of immigrants who contribute every day to the vitality of our country on a road to citizenship. However, while it is certainly a breakthrough, it is still in need of significant improvement.
As written, the bill contains severe obstacles for many immigrants who aspire to be citizens. The roadmap to citizenship should not exclude people automatically based on old or minor crimes. The bill also calls on the government to spend billions of dollars in taxpayer money to further degrade civil liberties at the border with surveillance and checkpoints, even when prior security benchmarks have already been met and resources invested there are at an all-time high. The border region is already rife with civil liberties abuses committed by law enforcement. The bill also makes mandatory a costly, insecure system to verify employment (E-Verify) that puts citizens at risk of losing their jobs and raises significant civil liberties concerns.
At the ACLU here in Maryland, we will fight every step of the way to ensure that immigration reform achieves what the American people want - a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants and an immigration system that is fair and respects our civil rights and liberties.
The following may be attributed to Sirine Shebaya, Liman Fellowship Attorney for Immigrants' Rights, ACLU of Maryland:
"Marylanders have shown their support for immigration reform by standing up for measures like the DREAM Act and driver's licenses for aspiring citizens. In fact, 82 percent of Americans are in support of common sense immigration reform. The ACLU will work with our members of Congress and a growing number of allies to ensure passage of fair, just immigration reform that respects the civil rights of everyone."