Today marks the one-year anniversary of the 2016 presidential election. Prior to President Trump’s arrival to the White House, the ACLU made a promise ─ should Trump act on the unconstitutional policies he proposed on the campaign trail, we would see him in court.
We’ve kept that promise. Here are just some of the ACLU of Arizona’s efforts to challenge the Trump administration’s agenda:
- President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio is an injustice to the countless people wronged by his years of racism, lawlessness, and abuse. However, the ACLU of Arizona will continue to fight Trump’s attempts to advance Arpaio’s failed legacy. The ACLU of Arizona won the civil contempt of court trial against Sheriff Arpaio and fought Arpaio’s request to erase the record related to his unlawful actions. A judge agreed – Arpaio’s criminal guilt stemming from ACLU’s Melendres case should not be erased.
- The ACLU of Arizona is proud to be involved in fighting for Arizonans’ due process rights and accountability for our law enforcement agencies. In a significant victory for Arizona, HB 2477 was signed into law this past year. This bill protects the due process rights of Arizonans by raising the burden of proof in forfeiture cases and making critical changes regarding attorney fees that will help ensure Arizonans have access to counsel and courts in forfeiture proceedings.
- An important legal highlight of this year was a federal court’s grant of a preliminary injunction in Doe v. Johnson, our case challenging the conditions of confinement in Border Patrol’s short-term detention facilities in the Tucson Sector. After the court ordered public release of videos showing the horrific conditions in these detention centers, it issued an injunction requiring Border Patrol to provide clean bedding for all detainees held longer than 12 hours; offer means for detainees held longer than 12 hours to wash or clean themselves; screen all detainees for medical needs; and monitor other conditions of confinement, including sanitation and cleanliness, temperature, and the availability of personal hygiene supplies.
Our People Power volunteers helped with the successful charge to make significant changes to the Phoenix Police Department’s immigration enforcement policies. Many of the changes are reforms that the ACLU and its community partners have been seeking for years, and we will continue to work with the Police Department and City Council to ensure that these changes help prevent racial profiling and civil liberties violations.
- In August, we launched the Demand to Learn campaign focused on ending discriminatory practices that push students out of school. In just over three months, we have given more than 25 presentations where we have informed parents, educators, and concerned citizens about the harmful disciplinary practices that affect schoolchildren, especially children of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. Recently, we held a policy summit to develop concrete policies that will help alleviate the problem of schools pushing kids out of the classroom with harsh, and often biased, disciplinary practices.
- The Trump administration is trying to turn back the clock on equality for LGBTQ people. We won't stand for it. In Arizona, we've argued in court against business owners seeking a right to discriminate against same-sex couples and are fighting a discriminatory, anti-transgender policy at the public charter schools run by Great Hearts Academies.
- The ACLU of Arizona opened an office in Tucson to strengthen our presence in Southern Arizona. This second office location will help us amplify our work and fight back forcefully against President Trump’s wasteful and dangerous plan to further militarize the southwest border.
With over 15,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 10,000 Twitter followers, the ACLU of Arizona uses these digital platforms to inform Arizonans of crucial news and for calls to action to all who are ready to defend the civil liberties of everyone in our state, and nation. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates about what we’re doing to fight for your rights.
We now have more than 20,000 card-carrying members in our beautiful state. Thank you for believing in us. Your unwavering support will help the ACLU of Arizona continue to do what we have done for nearly 60 years: protect and advance the civil liberties and human rights of every individual in Arizona--regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office.
The ACLU defends basic freedoms. Every day. For everyone. Help defend civil liberties by joining the ACLU, renewing your membership, or making a one-time gift. With offices in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the ACLU is fighting the Trump administration on all fronts. To learn more about the organization’s work nationwide, visit www.aclu.org.