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Government Spying, Immigrant Detention Policies Threaten Every American’s Civil Liberties

What: ACLU-SC Pasadena-Foothills Chapter Public Forum
When: November 12, 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena

Pasadena, California -- 5 October 2013: Do you ever wonder if Big Brother has arrived in earnest?

Think about it. Haven’t we learned that the National Security Agency has been collecting data on every American’s phone call; that the National Defense Authorization Act lets government lock up anyone -- including Americans -- virtually without limitation; and that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detention centers hold thousands of undocumented immigrants virtually without rights or protections.

At the ACLU-SoCal Pasadena/Foothills Chapter’s November forum, two experts -- Matthew Kellegrew from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and Ahilan Arulanantham, the ACLU-SoCal’s Senior Staff Attorney on the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project -- will discuss the history of these government-sponsored intrusions into basic civil liberties and outline steps taken to combat them.

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After the 9-11 attacks, America’s government quickly became intensely security conscious, but that effort “has been contorted into a complex, multi-agency surveillance apparatus whose attention has been turned against the American people and away from the Bill of Rights,” reports Kellegrew.

As part of these security measures, the NDAA permits indefinite detentions, including for Americans. The NDAA is “particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield,” according to ACLU sources.

Similarly, efforts to deal with America’s seemingly intractable immigration problems have also shredded Constitutional protections, involving great expense to taxpayers and unconscionable treatment of detainees. “It costs tens of thousands of dollars per detainee, per year to imprison people in immigration detention facilities,” says Arulanantham. “The vast majority of those being detained have no criminal records, pose no risk of flight and yet drain resources from an already strapped federal government.”

On one brighter note, Governor Jerry Brown’s recently signed AB 351, which challenges the NDAA by banning state participation in federal programs that involve indefinite detention.

The event is free and open to the public. For more info, contact Sharon Kyle, Communications Chair, ACLU-SC Pasadena/Foothills Chapter, aclupasadena@yahoo or 213.434.4643