ACLU loses grip on reality – and the law

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has never been an organization noted for applying sound logic to policy problems. Nevertheless, it appears to have totally relinquished whatever tenuous hold it may have had on reality. What is the nation’s premier agitator on behalf of illegal aliens and other immigration violators whining about now?

Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have been coordinating with their counterparts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to facilitate the arrest of illegal aliens who have already been ordered deported, have re-entered the country illegally following deportation, or are considered “an egregious criminal alien.”

That shouldn’t be particularly shocking. USCIS and ICE (and U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP]) were once separate divisions within the former Immigration and Naturalization Service. And as part of the Department of Homeland Security, they exercise distinct, but complementary, responsibilities. But, according to the ACLU, ICE is prohibited from removing any aliens who have applied for a “Waiver of Unlawful Presence” and are waiting for USCIS to adjudicate their waiver application.

The basis for this prohibition is, supposedly, the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver” regulations, enacted under the Obama administration. The ACLU claims that the government created a “path” for illegal aliens to obtain a green card and, “the government can’t create that path and then arrest folks for following that path.”

So, the social justice warriors at the ACLU have filed a class action suit on behalf of nine illegal aliens, residing in New England. All nine have repeatedly violated U.S. immigration law but still think they’re entitled to a green card. You see, under the warped logic applied by the ACLU, it’s the law-breaking foreigners who are really the victims here.

But, the ACLU appears to be willfully ignoring the fact that the regulations it cites specifically allow ICE, or CBP, to reinstate removal, deportation or exclusion orders against aliens who have unlawfully re-entered the country. It also seems to be ignoring the fact that the Obama administration’s regulations were probably totally illegal. The Executive Branch doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally overrule Congress’s mandates regarding who is eligible to seek a green card in the United States.

Given the fundamental flaws in the ACLU’s legal arguments, will this case be a slam-dunk for the Trump administration? It’s possible. Despite the Bay State’s reputation as a bastion of pro-illegal alien sentiment, the only lower court judge to get the law right on the Trump “travel ban” was Federal District Court of Massachusetts Judge Nathaniel Gorton. In a clear succinct ruling, he unapologetically dismissed one of the lawsuits against President Trump.

Nevertheless, for every constitutionalist justice occupying the federal bench in Massachusetts, there’s at least three activist judges who see the courts as a supra-legislature, responsible for correcting policies, rather than interpreting and applying the law. Only time will tell whether the ACLU’s war of attrition will succeed in eroding President Trump’s constitutionally sound immigration policies.

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
    Gloria Wedemeyer on

    To all those who favor ignoring illegal immigration in this country. What happens if they illegally enter your residence, then would love to know how you would feel. And to all those ultra rich people who have those mammoth estates, why don’t they take in a big hand full if they feel it is the right thing to do.

  2. avatar

    Enemies and idiots be damned. It is no different than ones private home. Nobody deserves to come to America. Much less, sneak in illegally. BTW, nice article.

    • avatar

      You are so right You do not come in unless invited. & that is thru the front door. When will these bleeding hearts realize the illegal foreign national invaders have broken the law. Just like a home robbery invaders. They are stealing America’s treasure from the American citizens. That is the bottom line

  3. Pingback: Time to Listen to Both Sides on Immigration |

    • avatar

      Like when Obama did it? Did you notice all the outrage disappeared over those initial photos when it was pointed out they were taken in 2014. Can you figure out who was president then?

  4. avatar

    The Constitution is clear. Article 1 Section 8 – 4: “The Congress shall have power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” Obama repeatedly said he did not have the power to do DACA and then ultimately did it.

    The press says it should be taken seriously. But just look at the endless time spent on books by Stormy Daniels and Omarosa. Both have made claims that in the end they have not backed up. That never stopped the media from endless interviews with Daniels and her publicity seeking lawyer, particularly CNN. Every pronouncement by Omarosa is headlined as a “bombshell claim” on the Today Show and NBC Nightly News.

    Meanwhile, they ignore the election security they profess to care so much about. In a recent Georgia primary there were 670 ballots cast in a precinct with 276 registered voters. Were there a gang of Russians at the polls? That was among a number of other problems statewide, which has pretty much gone uninvestigated.

  5. avatar

    Well stated. I support all efforts of the government, Federal and local, to enforce laws enacted by Congress, especially those relating to immigration. We MUST protect our country from foreign invaders a/k/a illegal immigrants.