On Liberty

Immigration plan shows that defending rights is smart politics



Carol Rose

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this guest blog for Boston.com.

It's heartening to see that President Obama is ready to offer immigrants to this country some relief--or at least to their children--by granting work permits to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors and have since led law-abiding lives.

WTF, Middleborough?

Matt Segal

 
Matthew R. Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this guest blog for Boston.com.
 

Some laws are good, some are bad, and some are just @!#$! ridiculous. A new anti-swearing provision passed by the town of Middleborough falls into that last category.

On Monday night, Middleborough voted to allow police officers to write $20 tickets to enforce the town's longstanding ban on addressing anyone in public using profanity. The profanity ban is clearly unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has held that a government cannot ban public speech just because it contains profanity. In Cohen v. California, a man was arrested for disturbing the peace after he went out in public--in fact, he went to a courthouse!--wearing a jacket bearing the words "Fuck the Draft." The Supreme Court held that he had a First Amendment to wear the jacket, noting that "one man's vulgarity is another's lyric."

"Show me your papers" comes to Massachusetts

Matt Segal

 
Matthew R. Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this guest blog for Boston.com.
 

Starting on May 15, the federal government will effectively force Massachusetts--that’s right, force--to participate in “Secure Communities,” an immigration dragnet that risks pushing Massachusetts toward an Arizona-style “show me your papers” regime.

This is bad news for all Massachusetts residents. S-Comm promotes racial profiling, jeopardizes public safety, and inhibits economic growth. Although the federal government seems intent on implementing this flawed program anyway, Massachusetts officials should try to limit the havoc that it wreaks.

In schools with hammers, guess what kids become



Carol Rose

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this blog for Boston.com.

To a person wielding a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. So it's no surprise that when you put a bunch of armed cops into public schools, they start arresting kids for behaviors such as swearing, banging lockers, and throwing tantrums--behavior that is nothing new but that, once upon a time, parents and school officials used to handle.

Friday Night ICE


Laura Rotolo

Laura Rótolo, FOIA counsel and community advocate for the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this guest blog for Boston.com.

It’s Friday afternoon. Time for another hollow announcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) purporting to fix its controversial “Secure Communities” program. These announcements—exquisitely timed to avoid media attention—have become such a pattern that advocates have come to expect “Friday surprises.”

This time, ICE announced its response to the criticisms of a task force comprising a diverse group of stakeholders hand-picked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The task force criticized Secure Communities (S-Comm) for its inconsistent messaging, lack of transparency, and interference with community policing.