I. Introduction
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-partisan organization of more than a half million
members, countless additional activists and supporters, and 53 affiliates nationwide dedicated to
enforcing the fundamental rights of the Constitution and laws of the United States. The
Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) of the ACLU engages in a nationwide program of litigation,
advocacy, and public education to enforce and protect the constitutional and civil rights of
immigrants. The ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office (WLO) conducts legislative and
administrative advocacy to advance the organization’s goals. The ACLU submits this statement
in opposition to H.R. 3808, which would mandate an unprecedented and harmful expansion of
state and local law enforcement agencies’ (LEAs) activity in the federal realm of immigration
H.R. 3808 would force every state and local police officer in the United States to assume
additional responsibilities as an immigration agent, by requiring them to conduct immigration
status investigations of aliens, lawful and unlawful, who are “apprehended” for “driving while
intoxicated, driving under the influence, or similar violation of State law” (collectively DWI).
Without any specialized training, these officers would then be authorized by H.R. 3808 to issue
detainers for anyone they determine to be in the United States unlawfully – detainers which
would impose not only mandatory immigration custody, but also mandatory pretrial detention for
those against whom criminal charges are pursued.
Reducing the incidence of DWI and its often tragic consequences is in everyone’s
interest. H.R. 3808 would, however, create far more problems than it aims to solve and raises
serious constitutional concerns as well. First and foremost, H.R. 3808, like other efforts to enlist
state and local police to enforce immigration law, would promote racial profiling of Hispanics,
Latinos and other people of color, eroding community trust in law enforcement and inviting civil
rights lawsuits. Indeed, by dispensing with the training that is currently required when local
police are authorized to enforce immigration law, and allowing officers to rely on Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) databases that have been repeatedly unreliable, the bill would result in
racial profiling as well as the arrest and detention of people who are lawfully in the United
States, including U.S. citizens.

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