Migrant parents are refusing to be reunited with their kids, citing safety concerns

According to the ACLU, the nightmare perpetuated against immigrants and refugees attempting to find safe harbor in the United States has taken a new, unexpected turn for the worse: the parents, separated from their children as part of the Trump administration's drive to make migration into the United States as miserable as possible, are refusing to be reunited with their children. The reason is absolutely heartbreaking:

From Reuters:

Immigrant parents separated from their children by the Trump administration and returned to their homes are refusing to be reunited with their children because their countries are so dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told a court on Friday.

Gelernt said parents who refused to be reunited tended to have older children who could be recruited by violent gangs if they returned home. In addition, some children have relatives in the United States and are unlikely to end up in foster care.

The ACLU contacted parents in Central America of 162 children and said 109 refused reunification, according to a court filing.

According to Reuters, Gelernt recently spent time in Guatamala attempting to help parents separated from their kids by U.S. Immigration officials to reunite their families. Of the 300 parents that Gelernt spoke to, roughly two-thirds preferred to let their kids take their chances in the United States where they'd have a greater expectation of safety and prosperity.

I'm not a parent, so I can't even begin to imagine the sort of painful parental devotion it would take to leave a child behind, in the name of keeping them safe, in a country that despises me enough to have torn my family apart rather than providing them with refuge from harm. Read the rest

TSA racially profiles Muslim woman, makes her show her bloody sanitary towel

Harvard grad student Zainab Merchant is detained and invasively searched every time she flies; she's tried extensively to end this harassment, applying for Global Entry and Precheck, writing to her members of Congress, and trying to run through the DHS's Redress procedure. Read the rest

The ACLU showed that Amazon's facial recognition system thinks members of Congress are felons, so now Congress is taking action

After learning that Amazon was pushing the use of Rekognition, its facial recognition tool, for use in policing (a global phenomenon that is gaining momentum despite the material unsuitability of these tools in policing contexts), the ACLU of Northern California had a brainwave: they asked Rekognition to evaluate the faces of the 115th Congress of the United States. Read the rest

Supreme Court: no government location tracking without a warrant

The Supreme Court has ruled in the closely watched Carpenter v. United States case, which questioned the constitutionality of warrantless location surveillance, a widespread practice among US law enforcement and surveillance agencies. Read the rest

Amazon has been quietly selling its facial recognition system to US police forces, marketing it for bodycam use

Amazon bills its Rekognition image classification system as a "deep learning-based image and video analysis" system; it markets the system to US police forces for use in analyzing security camera footage, including feeds from police officers' bodycams. Read the rest

Victory! Fourth Circuit rules that border officials can't subject electronic devices to suspicionless forensic searches

Back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Riley v California, holding that border guards do not have unlimited authority to search our personal electronic devices when we cross the border, requiring individualized criminal suspicion before a search can take place. Read the rest

Federal court will allow the ACLU to keep suing for the right to violate terms of service for legitimate purposes

Back in 2016, the ACLU and First Look (the publishers of The Intercept) sued the US government to force it to clarify that the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -- the overbroad statute passed during over a panic sparked by the movie "Wargames" -- does not prohibit violations of terms of service. Read the rest

ACLU steps in to defend anti-Trump mural in New Orleans

A mural quoting a sexual assault comment made by the President of the United States led to a threat of jail time from the city of New Orleans. Neal Morris, owner of the property and commissioner of the work, got the ACLU involved. Read the rest

As students take the lead in the gun control fight, check the ACLU's resources for students and their First Amendment rights

The ACLU's Josh Bell just wrapped up a livestreamed training session for students on their free speech rights and then released the video and slides; these are a great complement to the ACLU's existing know your rights guide for public school students. Read the rest

Indiana's voter-purging software removes voters without notice, is wrong 99% of the time

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program identifies possible duplicate voters by looking at registrations by people with the same name and birthdate; a joint study by researchers at Harvard, Yale, and Microsoft found that 99% of the people it identifies as duplicate voters are not duplicate voters -- that is, it has a 99% false positive rate. Read the rest

"Drug Recognition Experts" mistake sobriety for drug use

The Cobb County Police department has trained a number of its officers to be "Drug Recognition Experts." Apparently this training allows them to declare people under the influence without any actual proof. The ACLU is suing on behalf of several non-marijuana using victims.

Via the ACLU of Georgia:

The Cobb County Police Department has embraced the so-called “Drug Recognition Expert” (DRE) program, a program used nationwide but has never been independently and rigorously validated. The protocol requires officers to perform medical examinations to detect drug influence without having relevant medical training, and it leads officers to believe that they have a special ability to detect marijuana use without concrete evidence.

“The people of Cobb County should be outraged that their police department wasted scarce resources harassing and jailing innocent people,” said Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia. “The Cobb County Police Department needs to be held accountable for these flagrant violations of constitutional rights.”

The lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeks to vindicate the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful seizures and obtain compensatory and punitive damages.

Read the rest

EFF and ACLU sue Trump administration over warrantless border device searches

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties just filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 11 travellers whose devices were searched at the US border; they assert that warrantless device searches violate the constitutional restriction on searches without probable cause. Read the rest

Watch this lovely primer on America's transgender rights movement since the 1960s

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a brief overview of the transgender rights movement, focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Read the rest

"Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats benefit ACLU

My friend Gabe created these fun "Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats! All profits go to the American Civil Liberties Union! Gabe says:

On a personal note, making these hats has been a profound and grounding exercise in connecting with others from across the world that I would not have connected with otherwise. I know that the issues we face are complex and that Trump represents much greater forces than just him alone. I also know that this is but a small way to make a difference, but I do believe that it's important to express our dissent and let people know where we stand; that we will not be bullied by him or his supporters.

(And yes, that's Helena Christensen rocking the "Immigrant" hat below.)

Buy "Fuck Trump" and "Immigrant" hats

And follow Fuck Trump on Instagram!

Read the rest

In Rhode Island, students and parents must let schools spy on them day and night through their laptops

A majority of the Rhode Island school districts with "1-1" programs where each student is issued a laptop have a blanket policy of spying on the students and everything they do on their laptops, during, before and after school hours, on or off school premises, without any evidence (or even suspicion ) of wrongdoing. Read the rest

Should police be able to access your cellphone location history without a warrant? Supreme Court to decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear an important digital privacy rights case that will determine if police have to get a warrant to access your cellphone location data, which is archived by wireless carriers. Read the rest

Seattle: Death Cab for Cutie and The Decemberists benefit for ACLU and Planned Parenthood

On June 9 in Seattle, our pals in Death Cab for Cutie are joining The Decemberists and Sera Cahoone for a benefit concert at the Paramount Theatre with all proceeds going to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and Planned Parenthood. Tickets go on sale Friday (5/12) at 10am PT.

“We as Death Cab For Cutie are appalled by the divisive, xenophobic and misogynistic agenda the Trump Administration is attempting to implement in our country," says Ben Gibbard. "We are proud to be joining our friends The Decemberists and Sera Cahoone in support of both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood at this pivotal time in our nation's history."

Buy tickets. Read the rest

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