Weekly Rights Review: 3/11

March 11, 2011

In this week's Rights Review, we're standing against Arizona-style racial profiling in Michigan. Also, good news for teen lovers, Bigfoot, and the 2,000 people U of M has banned from campus.

Next Friday, the Kalamazoo Civil Liberties Film Fest concludes with George Orwell's dystopian vision, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Don't miss out, purchase your tickets today.

Michigan News

What starts in Arizona, stops in Arizona
Representative Dave Agema has introduced an Arizona-style immigration bill that would require police to check the immigration paperss of people they suspect may be in  the country illegally.

The measure would virtually compel racial profiling, waste police resources, and make Michigan hostile to all immigrants.

This week, we stood shoulder to shoulder with church leaders, government officials and immigration organization to oppose this troubling bill (via Grand Rapids Press).

Romeo, oh Romeo. Wherefore art thou a sex criminal?
Romeo and Juliet won't have to register as sex offenders anymore.

A bill that would keep consenting teenage lovers off the permanent state sex registry passed the Michigan Senate this week and looks set to be made law.

"This is a fabulous first step for at least one group of individuals on that registry that gets treated overly harsh," said Shelli Weisberg, our legislative director (via Detroit News).

U of M starts to listen to reason
After letters and a lot of attention, the University of Michigan has begun making their controversial trespass policy more reasonable.

New guidelines will limit how long people may be barred from campus and create a procedure for appealing a ban. However, the policy fails to address some serious concerns. We continue to work with the University to create guidelines that ensure visitors are treated sensibly.

Over 2,000 people were banned for life under the old policy (via Detroit News and Free Press).

National News

Bigfoot Knows His Rights
The ACLU of New Hampshire is standing up for Yetis everywhere, continuing our proud tradition of taking on controversial cases.

Okay, actually we're defending a performance artist who was barred from filming in a public park while dressed as Bigfoot.

After all, if we start denying free speech to big hairy monsters, where will the censorship end? (via Blog of Rights)

Leave your laptop at home?
Next time you visit Windsor, your laptop could be seized and searched at the American border.

The ACLU is challenging the government's policy of searching and keeping laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices at the border in the absence of any suspicion of wrongdoing.

The government compares searching a laptop to searching a suitcase. However, electronic devices hold an incredible amount of personal and private information and searching them should clearly require greater justification (via Blog of Rights).