Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a 'person' . . . Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as 'persons' guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Plyer v. Doe
Americans are not a narrow tribe. Our blood is as the flood of the Amazon, made up of a thousand noble currents all pouring into one.
— Herman Melville
The United States is in the midst of a major debate over immigrants and their place in our economic and political life. As during other times in our history, immigrants are being blamed for causing or contributing to the social, economic and political ills of our society. Politicians from both major parties, at both the national and state levels, are promoting a range of punitive legislative proposals that single out immigrants for adverse treatment by the government. Many violate basic civil liberties principles.
The Bill of Rights does not grant foreigners the right to enter the United States, but once here, immigrants are entitled to certain broad constitutional protections. Due Process — the right to be treated fairly, whether in a deportation hearing or a criminal court proceeding — applies to every person within U.S. borders. And Equal Protection prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin. An alien's rights to free speech and religious freedom are protected under the First Amendment. The Refugee Act of 1980 gives certain aliens the right to political asylum in the U.S.
New immigrants to our country are not a scourge as some politicians claim. In fact, they can help solve many of our economic and social problems.
August 15, 2016
Court Condemns Prisoner’s Excessively Long Solitary Sentence and Vindicates Rights
July 18, 2016
Hudson County’s Renewed Immigration Enforcement Sends Chilling Message
July 5, 2016
Salem County Urged to Reject Immigration Enforcement Role
May 3, 2016
ACLU-NJ Urges Christie to Retain State’s Role in Refugee Resettlement
November 24, 2015
ACLU-NJ Seeks Details of Syrian Refugee Policy
November 17, 2015
ACLU-NJ Condemns Christie's Refusal to Accept Refugees
August 31, 2015
Immigration Status: Do Hightstown Checks Go Too Far?
June 30, 2015
As Governor, Presidential Candidate Christie Earned Low Marks
May 21, 2015
Newark Becomes First Municipality in New Jersey to Issue Identification Cards
February 3, 2015
ACLU-NJ Challenges State Policy Denying Legal Residents Health Care
- Democracy Act
Establishes Automatic Voter Registration through MVC; expands in-person early voting; modernizes electronic voter registration; expands vote-by-mail; expands voting access for military and overseas voters; enhances access to the polls for people with disabilities; enhances language access at polling places with significant population of non-English speakers.
- Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses
Expands access to driver’s licenses to eligible undocumented drivers; expands list of documents needed to establish 6-point MVC identity and residency requirements for license; protects privacy of MVC data; limits use of card to non-federal purposes.
- Financial Aid Equality
Allows certain students, including undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria, to qualify for State student financial aid programs.
- Tuition Equality
Makes undocumented students who studied for three or more years at and graduated from NJ high schools, or obtained GED, eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid at NJ state colleges and universities.