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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana ACLU Asks State Officials To Stand Up To Feds On Immigration

Caitlin Borgmann, director of the Montana ACLU.
Photo Courtesy CUNY Law School

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana wants the state’s top elected officials to shield Montanans from aggressive federal immigration policy.

ACLU wants Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock, Attorney General Tim Fox and its entire congressional delegation to stem what it says are immigration-related human rights violations happening right here in Montana.

Caitlin Borgmann is the ACLU of Montana's executive director.

Borgmann says "Current ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Customs and Border Patrol enforcement is subjecting immigrants, people of color and indigenous people to racial profiling and inhumane treatment in a number of ways."

According to Borgmann that includes aggressive raids, inappropriate detentions and administrative abuse.

"We also have law enforcement agencies cooperating with federal immigration officials by holding people in traffic stops, for example. And If their immigration status is suspect, then they’re being held until ICE can come and detain them," says Borgmann.

The ACLU reports one of its own staffers was racially profiled in a traffic stop back in May.

The organization sent letters Monday to all of Montana’s top elected officials encouraging them to end collaboration with federal immigration agencies.

The full list of specific demands can be found here.

MTPR requested comment from all of the state’s top officials Monday.

Senator Jon Tester’s spokeswoman Marneé Banks says Tester’s working to secure the northern and southern borders.

Banks adds that "He expects due process and respect for human rights, and he believes comprehensive and bipartisan immigration reform is the best way to tackle these tough issues."

The governor’s spokeswoman, Ronja Abel, says Bullock believes recent immigration enforcement activities are atrocious, but that "There are no state resources under Bullock’s administration being used to separate or detain immigrant families and we continue to carefully review and monitor federal immigration enforcement activities in the state."

“Senator Daines believes we need a solution that keeps families together, secures our borders and upholds the rule of law. He believes we can find a solution without separating children from their parents,” A spokesperson for Senator Daines says.

Attorney General Fox, and Congressman Greg Gianforte did not respond by deadline Monday.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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