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.
- May 9, 2018 Afghan Refugee is Freed After Unjust Yearlong Detention
- May 8, 2018 Financial Aid Law Makes College Possible for More NJ Immigrant Students
- April 12, 2018 Legal Counsel for Detained Immigrants More Urgent After DOJ Ends Legal Program
- March 27, 2018 ACLU-NJ: Census Question on Citizenship Undermines Democracy
- March 26, 2018 ACLU-NJ Hails Senate Votes on Financial Aid for Immigrant Students & Police Accountability
- March 12, 2018 NJ Budget: Family Planning, Marijuana Legalization & Lawyers for Immigration Are Key
- January 24, 2018 DACA Recipient Sworn in As Lawyer by NJ Attorney General
- January 16, 2018 ACLU-NJ: We Congratulate New Governor and Hope to Advance Civil Rights and Liberties
- January 1, 2018 Hoboken Mayor’s Signing ‘Fair & Welcoming' Policy As First Act Shows NJ Civil Rights Leadership
- December 12, 2017 ACLU-NJ Welcomes NJ's Next Attorney General With a List of Civil Liberties Priorities
- Hassan v. The City of New York
Challenge to surveillance by the New York Police Department of Muslims in New Jersey.
- Petition for Rule Making Regarding Student Eligibility for Financial Aid
Petition to financial aid agency to amend regulations to specify that student citizens can prove residency in New Jersey through the high school they attended or where they are registered to vote.
- Garfield Gayle, et al. v. Janet Napolitano, et al.
Immigration detainees held in detention facilities not provided bail hearing
- Guaman v. Velez
New Jersey disenrolled legal immigrants from Medicaid program.
- State v. Gaitan
Defendant was not informed of deportation consequences of pleading guilty.
- A.Z. v. H.E.S.A.A.
Student not given state financial aid because parent is an undocumented immigrant.
- Del Rio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties
Landlord renting to undocumented immigrants sued for “harboring” illegal immigrants.
- Lima v. Newark PD
Newspaper editor taken into custody by Newark Police Department until he handed over photographs taken by his staff of a dead body on a public street.
- Augustovsky v. Holder, et al.
- Chere v. Taye
- 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.
- ACLU-NJ Offers Analysis of AG's Flawed Directive (2007)
- ACLU-NJ Urges AG to Revisit Flawed Directive (2007)
- AG's Guidance Needed On Cops and Immigrants (2007)
- Denying Justice to NJ's Immigrants (2006)
- REAL ID Act (2005)
- Don't Deny Immigrant Kids An Education (2004)
- Bring Immigrants Out of the Shadows (2004)
- War on Terrorism is Like War on Immigrants (2003)
- Are Immigrants Entitled to Full Civil Rights? (2003)
- CLEAR Act Will Muddy Relationships Between Police And Immigrants (2003)
- What to do if the FBI or Homeland Security Wants to Question You (435k PDF)
- Conozca sus Derechos ante la Migra (85k PDF)
- What to Do If Questioned by Police, FBI, Customs Agents or Immigration Officers:
- Conozca sus Derechos ante la Migra (85k PDF)
- Bustcard-English Wallet size version of Know Your Rights-English (426k PDF)
- Bustcard-Spanish Wallet size version of Know Your Rights-Spanish (426k PDF)
- Immigrant Rights Card-English (76k PDF)
- Immigrant Rights Card-Spanish (77k PDF)
- ACLU-NJ Offers Community Education Forums and Legal Clinics on the INS Special Registration Program (2003)
- The Skadden Report - The 2nd Year Begins (2002)
- The Skadden Report - Post 9-11 (2001)
- The Skadden Report - May Day 2001 (2001)
- The Skadden Report - ACLU's Immigrant Worker's Rights Project (2000)
- Secret Evidence in New Jersey (2000)
- Update on Secret Evidence (2000)