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Affirmative Action in Higher Education: The Racial Justice Landscape after the SFFA Cases

October 2, 2023

This report includes approaches that institutions can implement to increase diversity in higher education. The report offers concrete solutions to college students, education professionals, individuals, and institutions looking to further their commitment to pursuing racial equity. And it suggests ways to bring fair and robust educational opportunities to all students, paving the way for institutions to admit individuals from varied backgrounds to create a diverse campus that reflects the extensive resources  and potential of our multiracial democracy.

Digital Dystopia: The Danger in Buying What the EdTech Surveillance Industry is Selling

October 2, 2023

Over the last two decades, a segment of the educational technology (EdTech) sector that markets student surveillance products to schools — the EdTech Surveillance industry — has grown into a $3.1 billion a year economic juggernaut with a projected 8% annual growth rate. The EdTech Surveillance industry accomplished that feat by playing on school districts' fears of school shootings, student self-harm and suicides, and bullying — marketing them as common, ever-present threats.Education officials and school administrators play a vital role in determining how best to keep students safe. But as long as school districts continue to make decisions based on information provided by the very same companies that are seeking to sell schools their EdTech Surveillance products, the EdTech Surveillance industry, and not their students, will be the biggest beneficiary."Digital Dystopia" is meant to equip school decisionmakers, influencers, and community members with the full and reliable information they need to make the best decisions possible when it comes to student surveillance technologies and keeping students safe.

Lives at Risk: Barriers and Harms As Biden Asylum Ban Takes Effect

May 19, 2023

This joint report presents findings and recommendations regarding the end of the Title 42 policy and the implementation of punitive policies along the border, including the Biden administration's new asylum ban. From May 10 to 12, adelegation of human, civil, and immigrants' rights leaders saw firsthand the difficulties that people seeking asylum face when attempting to secure appointments at U.S. ports of entry via the CBP One app; the barriers some face waiting and trying to seek asylum at ports of entry without a CBP One appointment; the squalid and inhumane living conditions of migrants at the border; and the violence and anti-Black racism that people seeking asylum endure while waiting in Mexico.

“If I Wasn’t Poor, I Wouldn’t Be Unfit”: The Family Separation Crisis in the US Child Welfare System

November 17, 2022

'If I Wasn't Poor, I Wouldn't Be Unfit': The Family Separation Crisis in the US Child Welfare System, an ACLU research report produced in collaboration with Human Rights Watch, documents the child welfare system's disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous families and people living in poverty. Based on comprehensive research, including interviews with caregivers, staff, and experts; policy analysis; and new analysis of government data, this report details how conditions of poverty, such as a family's struggle to pay rent or maintain housing, are misconstrued as neglect, and interpreted as evidence of an inability and lack of fitness to parent. The research found that child welfare systems too often charge parents of neglect and take away their children instead of providing support to keep families together. In addition to socioeconomic disparities, the report documents racial and ethnic disparities in child welfare system involvement. Black and Indigenous families disproportionately face intrusive child welfare interventions, including investigations and unjust removal of their children. This research not only provides a national perspective, but also includes select data points for each state and a deep dive into California, New York, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. The report concludes with concrete recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers and stakeholders to take immediate measures to reduce the harmful impact of child welfare interventions, and to strengthen and support families and communities to prevent child maltreatment, without subjecting them to surveillance and regulation.

Racial Discrimination in the United States: Human Rights Watch / ACLU Joint Submission Regarding the United States’ Record Under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

August 8, 2022

The United States signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ("ICERD" or "Convention") in 1966. President Lyndon Johnson's administration noted at the time that the United States "has not always measured up to its constitutional heritage of equality for all" but that it was "on the march" toward compliance.[1] The United States finally ratified the Convention in 1994 and first reported on its progress in implementing the Convention to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ("CERD" or "Committee") in 2000. In August 2022, the Committee will examine the combined 10th – 12th periodic reports by the United States on compliance with the Convention. This report supplements the submission of the government with additional information in key areas and offers recommendations that will, if adopted, enhance the government's ability to comply with ICERD.

Captive Labor: Exploitation of Incarcerated Workers

June 15, 2022

Drawing on responses to open records requests, analysis of state and federal laws and regulations, interviews, and written questionnaires completed by incarcerated workers, this report discusses at length the features of state and federal prison labor systems that result in systemic exploitation and abuse. This report also recommends concrete steps to make prison systems treat incarcerated workers with dignity and respect for their human rights. Though this report centers on the gratuitously harsh conditions of contemporary prison labor, it is embedded in larger conversations about racism, sexism, the U.S. criminal legal system, the 13th Amendment, and the ultimate morality of this country's vast network of prisons, jails, and detention facilities. 

No Fighting Chance: ICE's Denial of Access to Counsel in U.S. Immigration Detention Centers

June 9, 2022

This ACLU research report provides the first comprehensive study of the barriers to access to counsel in U.S. immigration detention centers nationwide. Based on attorney surveys and calls to all immigration detention facilities nationwide, this report documents how ICE has systematically restricted the most basic modes of communication that detained people need to connect with legal counsel and the outside world. The report documents the many barriers that detained people face to communicate with counsel via telephone, video calls, mail, and in-person visits. It concludes with key recommendations for Congress and DHS to address these issues, and the crisis of detention more broadly.

Family Surveillance by Algorithm: The Rapidly Spreading Tools Few Have Heard Of

September 29, 2021

The latest reckoning with structural racism in the United States has involved critical reflection on the role of the criminal justice system, education policy, and housing practices in perpetuating racial inequity. But another area long overdue for collective reexamination is the child welfare system and the algorithms working behind the scenes. That's why the ACLU has conducted a nationwide survey to learn more about these tools.This report examines how many jurisdictions across the 50 states, D.C. and U.S. territories are using one category of predictive analytics tools: models that systematically use data collected by jurisdictions' public agencies to attempt to predict the likelihood that a child in a given situation or location will be maltreated.

Behind Closed Doors: Abuse and Retaliation Against Hunger Strikers in U.S. Immigration Detention

June 23, 2021

The decision to begin a hunger strike in immigration detention is not taken lightly. A detained person's refusal to eat may be the last option available to voice complaint, after all other methods of petition have failed. Detained and imprisoned people worldwide have engaged in hunger strikes to plead for humane conditions of confinement or release from captivity and to bring attention to broader calls for justice.Each day, the United States government unnecessarily locks up thousands of people in civil immigration detention, including children, in over two hundred immigration detention centers around the country.People may be locked up for many months — even years — as they await final adjudication of their cases or deportation. Trapped in a system marked by mistreatment and abuse, medical neglect, and the denial of due process, hundreds of people in immigration detention engage in hunger strikes as a means of protest each year. ICE's failure to provide safe and humane conditions in detention during the COVID-19 pandemic has only raised the stakes for detained people. Although some detained people, on occasion, are able to bring outside attention to their hunger strikes, very little is known of ICE's systemic response to hunger striking detainees.This report provides for the first time an in-depth, nationwide examination of what happens to people who engage in hunger strikes while detained by ICE.

The Survivors: Stories of People Released from ICE Detention During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 11, 2021

By examining client stories and key facts uncovered from the 40+ lawsuits the American Civil Liberties Union filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement since March of 2020, this report provides a window into the conditions of immigration detention from the perspective of people who survived and gained freedom from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also highlights some of the most egregious ways in which ICE and its contractors failed to protect detained people and, in some cases, sought to obscure the truth. It also makes recommendations to the administration and highlights the stories of 19 people who were detained during the pandemic and released as a result of litigation. 

Justice-Free Zones: U.S. Immigration Detention Under the Trump Administration

April 30, 2020

This research report from the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and the National Immigrant Justice Center provides an in-depth examination of the state of immigrant detention. Through visits to five detention facilities, interviews with 150 detained people, and analysis of government data, this report shines a light onto our nation's treatment of immigrants. Specifically, the findings illustrate how the immigrant detention system has grown since 2017, the poor conditions and inadequate medical care — even before the COVID-19 outbreak, and the due process hurdles faced by immigrants held in remote locations.

A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform

April 1, 2020

This report details marijuana arrests from 2010 to 2018 and examines racial disparities at the national, state, and county levels. The report reveals that the racist war on marijuana is far from over. More than six million arrests occurred between 2010 and 2018, and Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana. With detailed recommendations for governments and law enforcement agencies, this report provides a detailed road map for ending the War on Marijuana and ensuring legalization efforts center racial justice.