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ABA Press Release on Reno v. ADC

Statement of Philip S. Anderson
President, American Bar Association
Monday, March 22, 1999
Re: In Response to U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Reno, et al. v. American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, et al.
The American Bar Association has long been concerned about attempts by Congress to curtail federal court review of immigration decisions. The ruling last month bars three types of court cases, including challenges to the INS’ commencement of deportation proceeding, even if those proceedings are deliberately targeted at legal immigrants who express disfavored political views in exercise of their first Amendment rights. We are deeply disappointed that a majority of the Court interpreted the 1996 immigration law as denying meaningful review of selective prosecution claims that were pending since 1987, thus allowing the INS to resume the deporting of eight long-term U.S. residents. As disappointing as this ruling is, the Court did not eliminate judicial review of all immigration decision or decide that legal immigrants do not share the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. Nevertheless, immigrants across the nation have reason to be concerned that their access to the courts and rights to free speech are under attack.
The American Bar Association is firmly committed to restoring immigrants’ access to the justice system and defending their rights under the United States Constitution. We call on the Administration and the Congress to join us in this endeavor.