February 17, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC— NCLR (National Council of La Raza) and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund agree that deploying massive military force to round up people within U.S. borders would exacerbate what is already a chaotic civil and human rights crisis, transforming this country into a police state ruled by fiat and brute force rather than democracy and the rule of law.
The mere contemplation of a policy calling for the National Guard to conduct immigration raids represents a startling disregard for the constitutional protections afforded to all people on American soil. If deployed, a roving military force patrolling our streets and neighborhoods, and detaining people on the basis of their perceived race or national origin, would amount to a large-scale racial profiling program that would exacerbate existing tensions between law enforcement and communities of color and the ongoing rights violations caused by President Trump’s executive actions.
We are already seeing these violations in action. Just this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents reportedly targeted a group of Latino men who spent the night at a church-run hypothermia shelter, indiscriminately surrounding and questioning all of them before arresting at least two. A transgender woman in Texas was arrested in a courthouse while seeking protection against domestic violence. In Oregon, ICE agents have accused a man of gang affiliation without evidence to justify his arrest as an act of “public safety.”
These are the ends to which the Trump administration is willing to go to pursue its discriminatory, anti-immigrant polices. Places of worship are no longer sacred. Victims of violence must hide in the shadows rather than report threats to public safety. And now we learn that unprecedented military mobilization may be used to find and arrest people who have not even been charged with a crime.
The memo also outlined a plan to bring on an additional 5,000 border agents, makes mandatory detention the default practice, fast-tracks deportations, undermines provisions related to treatment of unaccompanied children, and lays out plans for building a wall that will cost billions.
We condemn the Department of Homeland Security memo as an affront to the rule of law and constitutional principles of equality. We join others calling for a full briefing from DHS Secretary John Kelly and complete transparency with respect to the memo and recent enforcement actions across the country.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.