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Immigrant's Rights
The Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and civil liberties of every person in this country. Upholding the rights of the politically disenfranchised is vital; when the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one group of people, it puts all our rights in danger.

ACLU Commends State Probation for Quick Action to Address Racial Profiling Allegations

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2015

CONTACT: Tyler Richard, 402.476.8091 x104, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

LINCOLN – The ACLU of Nebraska recently received complaints from attorneys in the Omaha area who indicated their clients were fearful of keeping probation appointments with state officials due to instances of potential intimidation, unlawful cooperation, and possible racial profiling by immigration officials stationed at the probation offices and detaining individuals with no warrant or probable cause. For example, a Latino individual would come in to meet with their probation officer and then be subjected to questioning by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The ACLU of Nebraska researched the issues, identified legal concerns, and wrote a warning letter to state officials on Jan. 16, 2015. On Jan. 23, 2015, the Chief Probation Officer for the Omaha-area State Probation Office informed the ACLU of Nebraska that it will now require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to have a warrant in order to interact with those in the probation office. (Include copies of correspondence as attachment or otherwise?)

"I am grateful to the ACLU of Nebraska for their leadership on this important issue,” said Omaha Attorney, Ross Pesek. “Many of my clients were concerned about this situation. This practice prompted grave concerns regarding the appropriate use of public safety resources and hindered the ability of individuals to successfully complete the terms of their probation for low level offenses."

This development builds upon other recent work from the ACLU of Nebraska related to the rights of new immigrants. In the fall of 2014 communications from the ACLU of Nebraska were instrumental in persuading Douglas, Sarpy, Hall and Lancaster Counties to stop honoring requests from ICE to hold individuals without specific evidence that a person has committed a crime.

"Being Latino is not a crime. Allegations of racial profiling undermine the integrity of our legal system. We are grateful state officials acted promptly and exhibited leadership when they became aware of this legally suspect situation. State probation offices should not be a venue for warrantless questioning of Latinos by ICE officials. The end of this practice will ensure trust and fairness are restored to our system," said Danielle Conrad Executive Director ACLU of Nebraska.

 

DREAMers Drivers License Case Moves Forward

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December 19, 2014
For Immediate Release

Contact:    Tyler Richard, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 402.476.8091 x104, 402.202.6211

Lincoln, NE- Today the United States District Court of Nebraska issued a ruling rejecting the state of Nebraska's attempt to remove a lawsuit on behalf of DREAMers against Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman from state to federal court. The State of Nebraska removed the case to federal court after multiple hearings had already taken place and with trial scheduled in state court only a month away.

The case will be remanded back to state court where it was originally filed and proceed according to the discretion of the trial court.

Background:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project filed a lawsuit in June 2013 in state court against Governor Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”). The lawsuit, Hernandez v. Heineman, challenges a decision by the Governor and the DMV to deny driver's licenses to young people who have been authorized to remain lawfully in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed in January 2013 that individuals granted deferred action under DACA are authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to be in the U.S. and are therefore considered to be lawfully present. The suit is brought on behalf of four named plaintiffs, all DACA recipients who were brought to the U.S. as children, have grown up in Nebraska, graduated from local high schools and are currently authorized to work in the country.

Currently, Nebraska is the only state in the country that is denying driver's licenses to DACA recipients. Arizona also denied drivers’ licenses to DACA recipients but, after a successful challenge, Arizona has been ordered by a federal court to start issuing licenses to DACA recipients starting December 22, 2014. Arizona has indicated it will continue to defend its policies.

The following statement can be attributed to Danielle Conrad, Executive Director

This is an important procedural victory that will ensure the case can move forward without additional delay. The state's policy to discriminate against lawfully present young people is unacceptable. Nebraska is now the last state in the country that denies drivers’ licenses to DACA recipients. It is time to move forward, to honor the intent of the Nebraska legislature, and ensure that all who are lawfully present in our state have the ability to travel to work and to school. Securing drivers’ licenses is important to ensuring these young people can more fully contribute to our communities and to our economy. Ensuring access to drivers’ licenses helps to keep our roadways safe for all Nebraskans.

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ABOUT: The ACLU of Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.

 
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