Skip to main content
 
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS 
of
Larimer County, Colorado
HomeCivil Liberties

Civil Liberties
Contact Civil Liberties

This team monitors government activities at all levels for possible erosion of individual liberties as granted by the US Constitution. We strive to educate LWV members and the public about identified issues and encourage action based on League positions.


"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you." RBG

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events

Civil Liberties News and Commentary

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.....
IF ICE KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR


"A new wave of ICE arrests is expected to begin... in at least 10 cities across the country. We're fighting back by suing to stop mass deportations of refugee families. Here's what you can do to fight back in your community:

Share our multilingual Know Your Rights guide on Facebook and Twitter. Everybody should know that we have rights that ICE cannot violate.


Know this: We don't have to open the door if ICE comes knocking. If the agents don't have a warrant signed by a judge, then we can refuse to let them in. We have the right to remain silent. And we shouldn't sign anything before speaking to a lawyer.

ICE raids are nothing new. But for over two years now, the Trump administration has been terrorizing our communities at a new level – tearing thousands of families apart, spreading fear and hate. If this isn't the kind of country we want to live in, then we must keep fighting to defend our communities.

The best way to fight back? Know your rights. And help your family, friends, and neighbors to know theirs.

Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter so we all know what to do if ICE shows up. Our communities are diverse, so we've translated our guide to 8 languages that encompass most of the undocumented population. "


Q&A About the Aurora Detention Center


How many are detained? How many men, women?

The Aurora ICE detention center has capacity for about 1500 adults, spread across two buildings. Usually the men greatly outnumber the women there (I would guess 90%/10%, but I don't know for sure). I don't know how many individuals are currently there - I believe they reduced their occupancy when COVID hit. They are operated by a for-profit company called GEO Group. Here's their website where you can see more about them: https://www.ice.gov/detention-facility/aurora-contract-detention-facility

Are there children there?

No, but ICE recently opened a facility for unaccompanied minors in Westminster. The last I heard it was operated by a for-profit company called Devereux under the guidance of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. 

How long is the usual stay?

This depends on each individual's legal situation. I'm aware of asylum seekers who have been there 4 years. I would guess a typical stay is between 6 months and 1 year.

What does it take to be released?

The individual either needs to win their immigration case, or they need to be released on parole or bond, which means they are allowed to live independently or with a sponsor family until the date of their final hearing.

I saw a show on the news about a house in Aurora that is serving as a halfway house but forgot the name.

This is Casa de Paz, and they do amazing work. Here's their websitehttps://www.casadepazcolorado.org/

What are the needs of the people released?

Casa de Paz specializes in this, and they pick up immigrants from the detention center, give them a backpack with clothing, and help them get bus or plane tickets to get to wherever they are going.

What sort of help could League members provide?

What help is needed?

One of the things that would be most helpful now is if League members could help us advocate for publicly funded legal representation for detained immigrants. 70 percent of immigrants detained in Aurora have no legal help, and so face a complex situation in their non-native language alone. There is an amazing non-profit called RMIAN (Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network) who has staff attorneys and also recruits pro-bono attorneys to represent for free as many detained immigrants as they are able, but that only covers 30% of the population. 

When people face criminal charges, the government pays for a defense attorney because the consequences can be so severe--loss of life or liberty. The consequences can be just as severe for immigration court, yet there is no guarantee of legal representation. Currently, there is a big effort by CIRC (Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition) to ask the City of Fort Collins, Larimer County, and the State of Colorado to provide funding for immigrant legal defense. Here is a presentation about this and their other priorities:

CIRC PRESENTATION

A big need that the Foothills Sanctuary Everywhere program works on is finding sponsors that are willing to allow the immigrants to live with them until their final asylum hearing. This is the only way that some asylum seekers can be released from detention, so if any League members would consider hosting an immigrant in their home, that would be amazing. They would have the support of an entire village of volunteers to assist them. If anyone is interested in learning more about this, we have a series of training videos they could watch to learn more.



Research, Education, and Advocacy

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Changes to US Citizenship Test 2020

               On October 2, 2020 the fee to apply for naturalization was increased from $640 to $1,160 when filed online, or $1,170 if paper filing. 

 Also, the Naturalization test changed for applicants who applied after 1st December 2020.  Instead of 100 questions, 128 questions will need to be learned.  Twenty of the questions are asked at random.  Twelve questions must be answered correctly to pass.  Previously ten questions were asked at random and six needed to be answered correctly. 

               These are the 2020 text questions which need to be studied for the civics exam;

https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship-resource-center/the-2020-version-of-the-civics-test/128-civics-questions-and-answers-2020-version

               The changes not only add extra hardships to those legally applying for citizenship but also put an added burden on USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) which will in turn cause further delays.

               The change in the answer to a question on who U.S. senators represent from “all people of the state” to “citizens in their state,” is clearly meant to demean those who are not citizens and is patently inaccurate.  

               The English test will not change and is determined by the applicant’s ability to read, write, speak and understand English. The person must correctly read one of three sentences and write one of three sentences.  The USCIS officer conducting the interview determines whether the applicant speaks English sufficiently.

 

Why They Marched
Summary written by Florence Field of an article by Susan Ware
Florence's 1619 Project Essay
Summary written by Florence Field from August 18, 2019 NYT article