Immigration Issues The ACLU of Rhode Island is Involved With - Court Cases, Legislation, News Releases


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years



Almost all of us are the offspring of immigrants to this country. Too often, however, the latest arrivals to our shore face widespread discrimination. When the government can deny legal rights to one group of people, everyone’s rights are at risk.  The ACLU works to ensure that the fundamental constitutional protections of due process and equal protection apply to every person, regardless of race, ethnicity, place of origin, or spoken language.

Immigration in the News

  • Apr, 11, 2019: ACLU and R.I. Legal Services Appeal Decision Undermining Rights of English Language Learners
  • Aug, 14, 2018: ICE and USCIS Conspired to Arrest, Detain Immigrants Wishing to Remain with Families
  • Jun, 29, 2018: ICE Says it May Arrest And Detain Immigrants Showing up for Interviews to Change Legal Status

View All Immigration Related News Releases »

Immigration Related Court Cases

2018: Calderon v. Nielsen
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Racial/Ethnic Discrimination    Due Process    Fair Administration of Justice    Immigration    

About This Case:
This is petition for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of ICE detainee Lilian Calderon, 30, a Rhode Islander and Guatemalan immigrant mother of two who came to the U.S. when she was 3.

Current Status:
In April, the ACLU filed a separate class action lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s pattern of separating married couples and families pursuing lawful immigration status. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Lilian Calderon.

On August 14, 2018, new documents revealed that ICE and USCIS conspired to arrest, detain and deport immigrants seeking legal status.

Adriana Lafaille, Matt Segal - ACLU of Massachusetts


Supporting Documents
2017: ACLU v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Category: Active Case    Discrimination    Racial/Ethnic Discrimination    Immigration    Open Government    

About This Case:
This is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit demanding government documents about the on-the-ground implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans.  Filed on behalf of six New England ACLU Affiliates, the lawsuit seeks records from the Boston field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) related to CBP's implementation of President Trump's Muslim bans at T.F. Green, Bradley, Bangor, Burlington, Logan and Manchester airports.

Current Status:
Lawsuit filed in April 2017.

ACLU Attorney:
Zachary Heiden, Legal Director, ACLU of Maine

Supporting Documents

View All Rights of Immigrants Court Cases »

Related Legislation

Immigrant Family Court (H 5788)
Category: 2019    Immigrants' Rights    

Along with many other advocacy groups, the ACLU supported H 5788, which would extend the jurisdiction of Family Court to undocumented immigrants between the ages of 18 to 21 who were abused, neglected, or abandoned. This would provide a critical opportunity for those individuals to seek the protection of Family Court and stabilize their lives and futures by potentially qualifying for a “green card” under federal law.

Sensitive Locations (H 5518)
Category: 2019    Immigrants' Rights    

We testified in support of H 5518, which would protect certain “sensitive locations” in the community, such as schools and hospitals, from enforcement actions and arrests by federal immigration agents. The bill is based on Department of Homeland Security policies, which are now honored in the breach. The ACLU believes that this bill is a necessary step towards providing safety and security to our undocumented population.

Driver’s Licenses for All (H 5511)
Category: 2019    Immigrants' Rights    

With the federal government creating an increasingly hostile environment for undocumented immigrants, it is imperative that Rhode Island take steps towards protecting the rights of all of its residents. H 5511 would allow for one such critical measure, by extending the right to obtain a driver’s licenses to those who are undocumented. Supported by the ACLU and the Immigrant Coalition, as well as the Governor and the DMV, H 5511 would let undocumented immigrants in the state qualify for a driver’s license.