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You're A Grand Ol' FlagWashington Report & NewsYou're A Grand Ol' Flag
By Holly Johnson

Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a 'person' .... Aliens, even aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful, have long been recognized as 'persons' guaranteed due process of law by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Plyler v. Doe (1982)

Three anti-immigrant laws adopted by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996 tore down our national welcome sign to immigrants and severely restricted their rights to due process of law. The ACLU has joined a nation-wide campaign to "Fix '96." The goal of Fix '96 is to restore the balance and wisdom of our traditions as a nation of immigrants and a nation of just laws. During the congressional recess in August the ACLU will feature four different legislative fixes to the 1996 laws, including those to help immigrants who:

The first legislative fix is basically for refugees who flee to the United States as a final attempt to save themselves and their Familyfamilies. They don't take time to get the proper documents to immigrate legally. If they are unsuccessful in emigrating, they risking returning to their countries and to possible persecution or even death.

The second legislative fix is for immigrants who made one mistake and given two punishments. If a person commits a crime in the United States, they pay their debt to society and they go on with their lives. The 1996 laws changed this for many immigrants. The laws require the INS (Immigration Naturalization Service) to detain even lawful permanent residents who committed minor criminal offenses which have long ago been paid for. When an immigrant applies for naturalization, he can (if he has committed a crime in the past) receive a one-way ticket to an INS lock up or a local jail. Even if he can prove that he would not flee and is not a danger to the community.

The third legislative fix is regarding secret evidence. No one can defend himself against the unknown accusation whispered by an unknown person to the judge. The 1996 laws gave the INS power to deport and/or punnish non-citizens based on secret evidence such as this. The ACLU believes teh use of secret evidence goes against what our country stands for.

The fourth and final legislative fix has to do with judges. The '96 laws took away judges' ability to oversee the actions of the INS and make sure that they are abiding by the law. No other law enforcement agency arrests as many people as the INS. The checks and balances system of government described in our Constitution will not work properly unless the judicial branch retains authority to correct abuses by the executive branch.


  • Immigrants will do the work that most Americans won't.
  • Immigrants bring diversity.
  • Immigration allows Mexican (or other nationalities) families to make their life a little easier by making more money.
  • When we slam the doors of immigration in their faces our country is forgetting what America is about, freedom.



  • Immigrants will work cheaper than American workers therefore American jobs could be lost.
  • Illegal immigrants don't pay state and federal taxes.
  • Tax money is spent to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S.