ACLU-TN Launches Initiative to Ensure Immigrants Understand Constitutional Rights

NASHVILLE – In response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, the ACLU of Tennessee today launched an initiative to ensure that Tennessee’s immigrants understand their right to fair treatment in the justice system.
The centerpiece of this effort is the online “Immigrant Rights Resource Center,” with bilingual information on how to prepare for interactions with law enforcement.  ACLU-TN is publicizing the center with the distribution of posters in Spanish and English to social service agencies, businesses and churches across the state.
“The Constitution’s promise of fair treatment in the justice system applies to all people in this country, citizens and non-citizens alike,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director.  “ACLU-TN’s online Immigrant Resource Center is designed to help people understand the justice system and the safeguards it offers.”
The constitutional guarantee of due process ensures that people are treated equally within the justice system. The U.S. is not supposed to be a country that detains people, sometimes for years, without access to lawyers or family. Unfortunately, this is what is happening to thousands of immigrants caught up in raids, transferred into detention centers, and pressured into signing removal orders without being able to consult with counsel or family.
The printable documents in the resource center provide information on how the justice system works, as well as an understanding of constitutional protections. They include information on obtaining visas in cases of domestic and workplace abuse or human trafficking, encounters with law enforcement, the detention system, safety planning and raids.