The ACLU has been at the forefront of the immigrants’ rights movement for 25 years. So, not surprisingly, we have a message for lawmakers as they prepare to debate federal immigration reform. In the wake of yesterday’s announcement by President Obama, we are urging policymakers to endorse and promote a set of priorities that will ensure all people’s civil rights are protected. This means immigration reform must honor and preserve our country's longstanding constitutional promise of equality to all.
I encourage you to read through our complete framework for reform, which lays out the key principles that must be advanced through any legislation. There are components of the proposed Senate plan that we find encouraging, and others that raise serious civil liberties concerns. Here is a brief run-down of the major priorities we’ve identified, with much more detail to be found in our full framework.

  • Immigration reform must create a welcoming roadmap to citizenship for aspiring Americans living in and contributing to the U.S.
  • We must not create a national ID system or include measures that harm fundamental privacy rights.
  • State and local intrusions into immigration policy and enforcement must end. Racial profiling at all levels of government must also be banned.
  • Immigration reform must address systemic due process problems with immigration detention and deportation.
  • Immigration reform must transform border enforcement, which has grown wastefully and abusively without regard to genuine public safety needs.
  • Reform must address immigration enforcement’s contribution to America’s mass incarceration problem.
  • Committed and loving couples in same-sex relationships must be given the ability to sponsor their spouse or permanent-partner in the same way opposite-sex couples have long been able to under current immigration law.