Schooling the ACLU on Immigration Enforcement

As sanctuary advocates have experienced push-back from the Trump administration their latest tactic has been to falsely portray certain specific types of locations as off-limits to federal immigration officers. In particular, schools, hospitals and churches have erroneously been depicted as out of the reach of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and other sanctuary advocates pushing this false narrative, are endangering American students. There has recently been a noticeable uptick in school violence attributable to illegal-alien-dominated gangs, like MS-13. Many law enforcement sources believe this increase is a direct result of the Obama administration’s mass admission of unaccompanied alien minors, up to 30 percent of whom were suspected of having gang ties.

Following a series of gang killings in Brentwood, N.Y., a federal state and local task force arrested a number of large number of illegal aliens suspected of gang ties. Some of the arrestees were students at a Long Island high school. The ACLU filed a lawsuit claiming the arrests were inappropriate. As described by The Guardian, the ACLU wants to know, “…how teenagers with no criminal convictions ended up in the hands of federal authorities?”

It’s more than a little disturbing that the ACLU’s attorneys, who are, presumably, familiar with the laws of the United States, need an answer to that question. It’s really quite simple. ICE didn’t arrest any of the affected students for crimes. It arrested them for being unlawfully present in the United States. Contrary to what the ACLU seems to believe, foreign nationals still have no enforceable right to enter and remain in the U.S. without authorization from the U.S. government.

According to The Guardian, arrests of illegal alien students are, “…a troubling example of how Donald Trump’s wide ranging executive order to ramp up immigration enforcement may be giving federal immigration authorities a stronger foothold in America’s schools.” Except that the Guardian is pushing a narrative as false as that peddled by the ACLU.

First, the Trump administration simply told ICE to enforce our immigration laws as written. Those laws were never changed by Congress during the Obama administration. President Obama didn’t like the present version of the Immigration and Nationality Act, so he simply ignored it, making major immigration decisions by executive fiat. (In other words, President Obama actually did what the ACLU and The Guardian are falsely accusing President Trump of doing.)

Secondly, while ICE has a longstanding policy of avoiding arrests in schools, hospitals, and churches, that is nothing more than a set of common sense guidelines. However, as a matter of law, ICE may arrest anyone it suspects of having committed an immigration offense, anywhere in the United States. FAIR has noted this before.

The goal of the ACLU and their media water carriers is to hobble immigration enforcement. They’re attempting to do this by filing as many lawsuits as possible; hoping they’ll get lucky when activist judges attempt to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act from the bench.

Meanwhile millions of students are forced to endure gang violence and in-school drug-dealing because the ACLU is trying to create non-existent civil rights for foreign criminals. It is high time for a new school of thought on immigration enforcement. How many more children will be victimized before the sanctuary madness stops?

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    get them out of our country and schools aclu can go live with them tell crocked Hillary don’t flatter herself

  2. avatar

    The Guardian is Britain’s print equivalent of MSNBC and CNN. All of them are never going to concede that countries, whether it’s Britain or the US, have a right to control their borders and to deport those who are not supposed to be here. It’s like ex prime minister Tony Blair, who has insisted that Britain must hold another Brexit vote because he claims the public was “not informed”. Utter baloney. A split from the European Union has been discussed for years. People were tired of open borders and micromanagement from bureaucrats in Brussels.

    It’s kind of appropriate that the Guardian website is carrying Hillary’s tale of victimhood from her new book, about how Trump was a “creep” who “loomed” over her at one of the debates. That there is even a debate about this at this point only underscores Trump’s complaints about fake news. Anyone can watch it for themselves. She left her podium and walked over directly in front of his, just a few feet in front of him. She’s lying and so is the media when they let her get away with it.

    • avatar

      So now you know more than Blair about England hahahaha!!!!

      Very simple, let them do it. No harm…is he is right then what are you?

      • avatar

        Actually Peter , Leland didn’t claim to know more about England than Blair … he just spoke on his claim of a need for a new vote …. you pushed the narrative … and a false narrative at that ….. wondering if you are practicing for a spot on the CNN staff of disinformation …. or maybe a gig at the DNC bureau of misinformation ….

    • avatar

      If you wrote the word truth on a piece of paper and stuffed it in Hillary’s mouth , she still couldn’t spit out the truth .