NEW YORK (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union announced by far the largest fundraising campaign in its 88-year history Monday, eying a dramatic expansion of its work on social justice issues in relatively conservative states such as Texas and Florida.Just how rotten is the ACLU? As usual, the IBD pulls no punches. ACLU: Cops = Terrorists.
The campaign's goal is $335 million, with $258 million already raised through behind-the-scenes solicitations over the past year, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.
Major donors include billionaire financier George Soros, who gave $12 million through his Open Society Institute.
"The purpose is to build a civil liberties infrastructure in the middle of the country – where battleground states are often under-resourced and our efforts are most needed," Romero said.
He cited issues such as immigrants' rights, gay rights, police brutality and opposition to the death penalty as causes that would be pursued vigorously as the ACLU expanded in heartland states. At present, the ACLU's biggest offices are in the Northeast, the Pacific states and Illinois; targets for expansion include Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and Tennessee, with even the smallest ACLU affiliates in line to get extra funding to hire new attorneys and launch new advocacy programs. [ACLU unveils big expansion plans for US heartland 6/11/08]
Immigration has long been an issue used by the ACLU to keep the police from doing their job. When President Reagan during his first year in office proposed penalizing employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, the ACLU called it "an invitation to conduct dragnet searches of places frequented by foreigners or those who look foreign."
Today, the ACLU's Lin says that when local police duly follow the precepts of federal law by acting as immigration agents – even though they're trained and supervised by the immigration division of the Department of Homeland Security – it is "not the appropriate constitutional use of state and local power."
If local policy can't help fight illegal immigration, it's a lost cause. But perhaps that's what the ACLU wants.