Immigrants' Rights

Since the nation’s founding, more than 55 million immigrants from every continent have settled in the United States. With the exception of Native Americans, everyone living in this country is either an immigrant or the descendent of voluntary or involuntary immigrants.

Every wave of immigration in the United States has faced fear and hostility, especially during times of economic hardship, political turmoil, or war.

The United States Constitution does not give foreigners the right to enter the U.S. but once here, it protects them from government discrimination based on race and national origin. Immigrants work and pay taxes. Many immigrants have lived in this country for decades, married U.S. citizens, raised their U.S.-citizen children and served in the military. Laws that punish them violate their fundamental right to fair and equal treatment.

The ACLU has been one of the nation’s leading advocates for the rights of immigrants, refugees and non-citizens, challenging unconstitutional laws and practices, countering the myths upon which these laws are based.

Immigrants’ Rights in Oregon
Oregon’s original Constitution protected only white males, both immigrant and native born. It gave property rights only to white foreigners, barred African Americans from moving to the state, and specifically prohibited African Americans and Chinese Americans from the right to vote. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, these various provisions were repealed.

In 1987, with the help of the ACLU and other advocacy groups, the Oregon legislature passed ORS 181.850 which prohibits local law enforcement officers from enforcing federal immigration laws that target people based on their race or ethnic origin when those individuals are not suspected of any criminal activities.

The ACLU of Oregon has been an outspoken critic of anti-terrorism measures passed since September 11, 2001 that unfairly single out immigrants.

Litigation

ACLU of Oregon Demands for Documents on Implementation of Trump’s Immigration Ban

FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign with 50 ACLU Affiliates

FOIA filed image February 2, 2017 — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office (CBP) to reveal how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s immigration ban, and whether they are complying with orders from federal courts partially staying the ban’s implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed FOIA requests with 18 CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country.

“The exclusion of Muslims and refugees is shameful and runs counter to core American values,” said Kelly Simon, staff attorney at the ACLU of Oregon. “Yesterday, we sued the Trump administration on behalf of immigrants and refugees in Oregon. Today, we teamed up with ACLU affiliates across the country in an effort to force out information about how these orders are being carried out.”

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Oregon Immigrants’ Rights Groups File Lawsuit Against Trump’s Muslim and Refugee Exclusion

press conference at Unite OregonFebruary 1, 2017 - The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) and Immigrant Law Group PC filed a lawsuit today in federal district court challenging President Trump’s Muslim and refugee exclusion order. The complaint was filed on behalf of Unite Oregon, a social justice organization whose members include Muslim immigrants and refugees.

“Today, we tell the world that Oregonians reject Trump’s inhumane orders that exclude Muslims and refugees,” said an emotional Manijeh Merhnoosh, Unite Oregon’s board co-chair. 

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Legislation

ACLU of Oregon Supports Eugene's Ordinance for Protection of Individuals

A version of this testimony was delivered to the Eugene City Council by Bonnie Souza. Written testimony was also submitted.

March 13, 2017 - Over the years, the city of Eugene has made it clear through multiple resolutions related to human rights, and in support of refugees and immigrants, that it strives to be a welcoming and inclusive city.

The proposed ordinance aligns with those values and takes a concrete step to ensure that city resources are not used in ways contrary to those values. The ordinance is an important legal tool to ensure protections for people who live, work, or visit Eugene and who are, or may be perceived to be, immigrants.

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Remember Our History: Create Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon

Minoru Yasui

VICTORY! Bill to Honor Oregon Hero Minoru Yasui Passes Oregon Legislature Unanimously

UPDATE: February 24, 2016 - A bill honoring the struggle and legacy of Oregonian Minoru “Min” Yasui, who fought against the internment of Japanese Americans, passed unanimously through both the Oregon Senate and House. The legislation designates March 28 of each year as Minoru Yasui Day. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

“With so much anti-immigrant rhetoric in the news, it’s refreshing that Oregon legislators came together across the aisle to support Minoru Yasui Day,” said Kimberly McCullough, ACLU of Oregon’s legislative director. “Min’s story is a reminder that we must remain vigilant to protect freedom for all people.”

1,393 supporters signed an ACLU of Oregon petition to create Minoru Yasui Day.

“Minoru Yasui has made all Oregonians and all Americans proud,” said Senate President Peter Courtney, D - Salem, after the unanimous vote today.

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Other

VICTORY! Portland “Dreamer” Released From ICE Detention

Detained DACA recipient quickly reunited with family following public outcry

March 27, 2017 - Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez, the 25-year-old DACA recipient who was picked up by ICE agents at his Portland home Sunday, was released from ICE custody on bond following a public outcry over his detention. Advocacy groups Causa Oregon, the Latino Network, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) credited the massive public response to his story for the quick turn of events.

“We are thankful to everyone who called to ask ICE to release Francisco,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon. “The phone lines were jammed up all day yesterday and today. Yet again, people have shown that they reject the cruel policies of the Trump administration.”

Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa Oregon said today’s news gave her hope.

“Families should not be torn apart. Dreamers and children should be safe in our state. Oregonians have the right to demand that ICE adopt more humane policies and tactics. We saw Oregonians speak out over the last 24 hours, and it resulted in Francisco’s swift release and reunification with his family.”

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Portland "Dreamer" Arrested at Home Early Sunday Morning

UPDATE: March 27, 2017 - After a massive public outcry, Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez was released on bond from ICE detention. Read more.


Community Groups Demand the Release of the DACA Recipient

photo of FranciscoMarch 26, 2017 - Early this morning Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents picked up Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez without a warrant at his home in southeast Portland. Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, has been part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since 2013.

“His family said it was terrifying and they didn’t know what to do. ICE agents were banging on the door. They didn’t have a warrant, and were told they couldn’t come in, but they wouldn’t stop banging on the door,” said Stephen Manning, a local immigration lawyer who talked with the family.

Rodriguez Dominguez arrived in the United States at the age of five from Morelia Michoacan, Mexico. He has lived in the Portland metro area since then and attended Glenfair Elementary School, H.B. Lee Middle School, Reynolds High School, and Mt. Hood Community College to study information technology. 

Rodriguez Dominguez works for Latino Network, a community organization, where he coordinates a food pantry for low income families at Reynolds Middle School in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank and Multnomah County SUN Community Schools initiative. He also coaches a soccer team at Glenfair Elementary. 

“Everyone loves Francisco. I don’t know how we will tell the kids, families, and school staff he works with about this. They are going to be heartbroken to hear he has been taken away,” said Carmen Rubio, executive director of the Latino Network.

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