Federal Policy Work
The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20500 November 19, 2014 Dear President Obama, We write as a united coalition joining representatives of border communities and the broader immigrants’ rights movement to urge you not to link vitally-needed administrative action protecting immigrants from deportation with further militarization of the borders. Customs and Border Protection is an agency in crisis: CBP urgently needs a surge in accountability and oversight, not increased Border Patrol personnel or war equipment. You should not waste more money on the border-industrial complex. Instead, you should commit to best law enforcement practices for CBP, like: agency-wide use of body-worn cameras; robust custody standards; and an end to CBP interior enforcement including checkpoints, roving patrols, and the boarding of public transit to ask for papers far from any border (this occurs daily throughout the 100-mile zone of CBP operations that flout constitutional protections). Adding border enforcement resources as part of your immigration announcement would send a wrong and unjust message to border communities. While enthusiastically welcoming an end to deportation fears among some of our neighbors, friends, and family, border communities cannot tolerate more of the same damaging policies…
Are you in the 2nd Congressional District of Utah? Is Chris Stewart your Representative? Rep. Chris Stewart, is holding town hall meetings in Utah during the next week....a prime opportunity to tell him face-to-face that you want fair and just immigration reform.
Now is the time to speak out to ensure contraception coverage for millions of American women. Urge the Obama administration to stand firm and not yield to those seeking to undo a major victory for women's health. In a breakthrough for women's health, the Obama administration has ensured that millions of women have access to affordable, effective contraception. But anti-family planning forces are waging an all-out campaign to prevent women from getting affordable access to this basic health care. They are claiming that your boss should be able to control your health care decisions. We can't let them succeed. That's why we're hoping you will immediately write to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and urge it to stand by its decision – contraception is basic health care and must be available in health insurance plans. The deadline for public comment on the current plan is right around the corner. HHS needs to hear from you and all Americans who support women’s fundamental right to contraception. We must fight back and ensure our voices are heard. We know that contraception is a game changer for women. Contraception helps women protect their health and plan their families. It allows women…
The ACLU of Utah wrote to thank Sen. Hatch for his vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on July 10 in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Imagine being fired for no other reason than simply being who you are. Right now in a majority of states, including Utah, you can be fired solely for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Tell your senator to end workplace discrimination. Next Wednesday, July 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee will vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would level the playing field for LGBT workers and ensure that all Americans have the ability to work free from discrimination. Your senator, Senator Orrin Hatch, is a key vote on the HELP Committee and needs to hear from you to move this important legislation to the full floor of the Senate. Contact Senator Hatch today and urge him to vote YES to pass ENDA out of committee. No one should have to fear being fired simply because of who they are. Thank you for taking action to ensure a free and fair workplace for all Americans. ACLU of Utah
The ACLU of Utah wrote to thank Sen. Hatch for his leadership on Immigration Reform and helping pass S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We applaud his willingness to reach across the aisle to find a legislative solution that reflects Utah’s values.
Wouldn't you be furious if the government's plan to screen certain immigrants out of the workforce ended up costing you your job instead? That's exactly what could happen if a massive error-prone bureaucracy called E-Verify is included in the federal immigration reform package your senator is considering right now.
On Tuesday morning, the Senate will hold its first-ever hearing on drones and the killing program in which an estimated 4,700 people across two continents have been killed, including four American citizens. This vast killing program is unlawful, dangerous, and unwise. Amazingly, the Obama administration continues to hide its legal memos on when it believes any president can order the Pentagon and the CIA to kill people far from any battlefield.
The ACLU of Utah has sent a letter to Senator Bennett urging him to vote in support of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. This bill, expected to be voted on soon, would promote fairness in access to public higher education for talented, high achieving young people regardless of their immigration status. The Act would would also provide a path to citizenship for undocumented students who complete two years of college or military service. Read the letter to Senator Bennett (PDF) >>Read the letter to Representative Matheson (PDF) >>Wall Street Journal Advocates Making DREAM a Reality >>
ACLU of Utah Joins Nationwide Letter to DHS Secretary Criticizing Response to and Potential Use of the List
The ACLU of Utah this week joined with 120 other civil rights organizations and individuals nationwide to urge Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano categorically to reject use by DHS of the now-infamous “list” of 1,300 Utah residents who are allegedly in the country unlawfully.
FBI's Power to Track and Map "Behaviors" and Lifestyle Characteristics" of American Communities Raises Alarms. According to a 2008 FBI operations guide, FBI agents have the authority to collect information about and map so-called “ethnic-oriented” businesses, behaviors, lifestyle characteristics and cultural traditions in communities with concentrated ethnic populations. Although some racial and ethnic data collection by some agencies might be helpful in lessening discrimination, the FBI’s attempt to collect and map demographic data using race-based criteria for targeting purposes invites unconstitutional racial profiling by law enforcement, says the ACLU.
Current federal sentencing law punishes crack cocaine offenders more severely than any other drug offenders for possession. This disparity has resulted in a disproportionate number of African Americans sentenced under this mandatory minimum law. Numerous judges, medical professionals and civil rights advocates have all called on Congress to end the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences, and legislation has now been introduced to do just that. Contact Senator Orrin Hatch and your Representative and urge them to support legislation to end the disparity.
ACLU of Utah thanks Senator Hatch for standing up to White House and urges him to continue investigating NSA wiretapping program.
Citing new documents revealing the high costs for Utah’s implementation of the Real ID Act, the ACLU of Utah calls on state lawmakers to pass a resolution urging Congress to amend the Act.
The Supreme Court, on June 23, 2003, upheld the use of internet blocking software. The Court ruled that Congress can force public libraries to choose between installing blocking software on library internet terminals or losing their federal funding. The Court stated that the law was acceptable because librarians have the authority to turn off the blocking system at the request of an adult patron. The following is a list of recommendations for libraries: Libraries should consider turning down the federal funds and refusing to install blocking software. For libraries that cannot turn down federal funding we make the following recommendations: 1. Post a notice of the law to patrons. We’d recommend placing it prominently on every computer. We’d recommend something like: “Federal law requires us to install blocking software on Internet access computers. Blocking software blocks access to sites the software company thinks offensive. It is well established that the software does not work properly. It overblocks (blocks sites no one would think objectionable) and underblocks (fails to block sites that some might think objectionable). The companies also will not tell us or you what they have blocked. Because of the problems with the software, we will turn it off…