ACLU National Office Congratulates ACLU Of San Diego & Imperial Counties On 75 Years Of Defending Civil Rights

March 3, 2008 12:00 am

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The following statement can be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero:

“As the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties celebrates its 75th anniversary, the ACLU National office congratulates the affiliate for its tireless efforts in defending the Constitution and upholding civil rights. Since its founding three quarters of a century ago by Helen Marston, the San Diego affiliate has been ever vigilant in defending the civil rights of all people who live in this border region and has handled some of the most important cases in history regarding the rights of farm workers and immigrants in the U.S.

“In 1945, the affiliate brought the landmark case Oyama v. California, which challenged California’s ‘Alien Land Laws’.” The laws targeted Asian immigrants, specifically farmers of Japanese descent, from owning or leasing land. The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties won the case in the U.S. Supreme Court; the case established the principle that immigrants were protected by the 14th amendment and thus, guaranteed equal treatment and equal protection.

“In the very recent past, after the affiliate won the lawsuit Garrett v. City of Escondido, which challenged a local anti-immigrant ordinance that prohibited landlords from renting to immigrants, the California legislature passed a law late last year (SB976) that prohibits the passage of such xenophobic and illegal statutes in the state and makes it illegal for landlords to ask prospective tenants for proof of citizenship.”

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