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Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

Click here to learn more about our the ACLU's work to protect the rights of immigrants at the national level and in other states.


By Jane Henegar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana

November 16, 2017

With President Trump's mass deportation machine kicking into high gear, immigrants in Marion County can rest a little easier under the terms of an agreement affirmed by a federal court last week.

Under the agreement, Marion County Sheriff's Department will stop imprisoning immigrants without probable cause or a warrant. Previously, Hoosiers such as our client were detained in jail and funneled into deportation proceedings solely on the basis of a "detainer request" from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE uses these detainers – or immigration holds – to bully local authorities into imprisoning immigrants, many of whom have done nothing wrong, and funneling them into deportation proceedings.

This raises serious constitutional concerns.

Depriving someone of their freedom without due process is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And in November 2014, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged "the increasing number of federal court decisions that hold that detainer-based detention by state and local law enforcement agencies violates the Fourth Amendment."

In addition to violating immigrants' basic constitutional rights, this kind of cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities also undermines public safety. If immigrants are reluctant to show up in court or report a crime out of fear they may be deported, everyone will be less safe.


This week it's rumored that Trump will announce his plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that gives undocumented immigrants work and student visas if they arrived in the U.S. as children. This action would threaten 800,000 young adults.

DACA recipients are brave young people who are working or going to school, living their lives, and contributing to America. This is their home. Taking their legal status away is immoral and wrong.

"We have 9,800 DACA recipients in Indiana and losing their contribution to our economy would cost Indiana $516.4 million annually," says Katie Blair, Director of Advocacy at the ACLU of Indiana. "These young people are making our schools and workplaces better. They should not to be made pawns of a political agenda."

The ACLU of Indiana adamantly stands against this attack on young people who are the embodiment of the American dream. We ask you to do the same. 

Take action here

Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, had this reaction to restrictive sanctuary cities order,

"President Trump is threatening to punish localities for establishing constitutional safeguards and for protecting the public safety of their entire community. He may hope that local officials will buckle under his threats, but they have been preparing to defend their policies and we will stand with them in court."

The ACLU provided legal analysis of the anti-immigration proposals touted by then-candidate Trump. It concluded those proposals were illegal, unconstitutional, and could lead to mass violations of civil liberties and rights. 

A number of elected officials in Indiana have stated their intent to protect the legal and constitutional rights of immigrants in their communities. Those communities include Indianapolis, Bloomington, and South Bend. We urge individuals who are concerned about their rights and the rights of the friends, family and neighbors to thank the leaders of the those communities and to urge the elected leaders of other communities to adopt a similar stance.

Here are model rules and policies for local law enforcement that protect those rights.

March 30, 2016

Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt denied the State of Indiana's request to stay her Feb. 29 ruling granting a preliminary injunction to Exodus Refugee Immigration, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, to stop Gov. Mike Pence from denying settlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.

The following statement can be attributed to Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director:

"We are pleased that Judge Pratt has recognized that the State of Indiana has no role in banning a group of refugees based solely upon their nationality. The Governor's position offends federal law, the U.S. Constitution, and our fundamental American values of providing refuge for families fleeing war and violence."

Read more ...

About the ACLU of Indiana's case:

On November 23, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and ACLU national, on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, filed suit against Governor Mike Pence and the secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to stop attempts by the governor to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, claiming the governor's actions violate the United States Constitution and federal law. On December 2, we filed a memorandum in support of our motion for preliminary injunction.

  • Our lawsuit seeks to stop Gov. Pence from unconstitutionally denying the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.
  • To deny the resettlement of any group of people based on nationality is not just morally wrong; it violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, and erodes our own civil liberties.
  • Syrian refugees are fleeing violence and oppression and should not be blamed for the very terror they are fleeing.
  • Decisions concerning immigration and refugee resettlement are exclusively the province of the federal government, and Gov. Pence's attempts to pre-empt that authority violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal.
  • The United States has a rigorous and multi-layered security screening program in place for refugee resettlement that includes background checks by multiple agencies. Refugees undergo biometric tests, medical screenings, and in-person interviews with Department of Homeland Security officials.

Read more ...

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