In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama appealed for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The New York Civil Liberties Union applauded the president’s spoken commitment to fixing our nation’s broken immigration system, and called on New York’s congressional delegation to take up the president’s call for reform. Moreover, the NYCLU called on New York’s delegation to ensure that such legislation protects all Americans’ rights and liberties. New York Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, bares particular responsibility for ensuring that any immigration reform bill respects Americans’ privacy by excluding language to establish a national ID card.
The following can be attributed to New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“For too long, too many New York families have been torn apart and too many hard-working immigrants have been kept in the shadows due to Congress’ failure to pass meaningful immigration reform. Today begins anew the hope of so many New Yorkers for the possibility of a just, humane immigration policy that respects basic fairness and civil rights.
We call on all of New York’s congressional delegation to take up the call for immigration reform as soon as possible. A sensible, fair immigration policy must provide a realistic path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; must restore due process, judicial review, and basic fairness to the immigration system; must treat immigrants in detention centers humanely and expand alternatives to immigration detention; must end local enforcement of immigration law; and must respect all Americans’ privacy and reject any attempt to create a national identity card system in the United States.
The NYCLU looks forward to working closely with New York’s congressional delegation in the coming months to advance the cause of immigration reform, a civil rights and liberties priority of the highest order. New York Senator Charles Schumer is expected to introduce the leading comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate next month. In speeches, New York’s senior senator has proposed the creation of a national biometric ID program for all working Americans – citizens and immigrants alike – to be included as part of his reform bill. The NYCLU and its partners reject any national ID card system as a violation of basic rights and liberties. Such a card would lead to a national ID system – a concept Americans have opposed throughout our history as a threat to privacy. We must not sacrifice traditional American values. Any backdoor attempt to create a national ID card must be rejected.”