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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Statement On President Trump’s Executive Orders Related To Immigration And Refugees

26 January 2017 Published in Newsroom

The ACLU of Utah proudly stands with our immigrant and refugee communities to ensure their rights and freedoms under our laws and Constitution.

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The ACLU is tremendously concerned about the devastating impact President Trump’s recent Executive Orders related to immigration and refugees could have on our neighbors, friends and families here in Utah and across the country. 

The orders issued by the White House aim to unleash an even bigger deportation force by deputizing state and local law enforcement agents, forcing them to be responsible for enforcing immigration law, with obvious disregard for the community-building work our local police are trying to do in all communities.

Federal law does not require cities and states to help with immigration enforcement, which is the responsibility of the federal government. We have fought this battle already, in Arizona and in Utah and at the Supreme Court. Here in Utah, many law enforcement agencies have come to the reasonable conclusion that doing the job of the federal government with regards to immigration, threatens community policing efforts and risks alienating immigrant and refugee communities. Our police recognize that this makes us LESS safe, actually THREATENING public safety. We will work to ensure these local practices remain unchanged as any local decision to offer resources to federal immigration enforcement agencies is voluntary.

The President’s orders also seek to increase detentions and deportations, categorizing almost all immigrants as priorities for deportation. Jailing immigrants and refugees makes no sense for the vast majority of these men, women, and children who pose no danger or flight risk. Many go on to win their cases to become lawful US residents and citizens.

Orders to lock up asylum seekers and ban immigrants and refugees based on their religious affiliation are unconstitutional and un-American.  The United States, and the State of Utah, have a proud history as a beacon of hope and a safe haven for those fleeing persecution.  Religious freedom and equality are fundamental American values. Those principles are enshrined in the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws. Those principles help define what is best about our country. 

The fear created by these aggressive and flawed orders is real.  The ACLU will closely monitor any civil rights violations that result from these orders. We will challenge actions that are in violation of constitutional rights.  We have a proven track record of standing up to the government when those in power seek to trample our civil rights and limit our civil liberties, and we stand ready to stop such abuses in our nation’s immigration enforcement and border security actions. 

Thank you for letting us be here with you today.

This statement was read at a press conference led by Comunidades Unidas and other Utah advocacy & support organizations at the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building on 1/26/17

View a PDF of this statement >>