LOS ANGELES - In support of a resolution Speaker of the Assembly Fabian Nu�ez (D-Los Angeles) will present today in the state legislature urging Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a path to legalization, the ACLU of Southern California issues this statement:

The following statement can be attributed to Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.

For more than three decades the ACLU of Southern California has supported humane immigration law that recognizes the contributions immigrants make to our society by advocating a path to legalization, protecting family unity and ensuring that immigrants are treated fairly in the judicial system.

Hundreds of thousands of people here in Southern California have joined millions more throughout the United States in peaceful protest to urge Congress and the President to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. Efforts to criminalize immigrants contradict the spirit of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the principles on which this country was founded.

As Congress continues to evaluate immigration reform proposals, the ACLU of Southern California calls upon elected representatives to:

' Ensure equal protection. Preserve the individual rights and liberties of every person, regardless of immigration status, as guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

' Preserve due process of law for all by ensuring a fair and equitable legalization process through access to courts and meaningful judicial review.

' Reject indefinite detention. Locking up asylum seekers, torture victims and other immigrants who have no just means to fight their cases is inhumane and does not serve to make our country safer.

' Protect the privacy of all workers.

' Maintain a divide between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement. When those lines are clearly drawn all communities are safer.

Any fair immigration reform must include a path to legalization. Dehumanizing hard-working families by criminalizing them just for living here is un-American. Without a path to legalization, undocumented immigrants will remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation because of their status.

As a staunch supporter of individual liberty and equality, the ACLU of Southern California supports a compassionate approach to immigration reform that will not undermine constitutional freedoms. Immigrants continue to contribute to our growing economy as well as the social fabric of the United States and our laws must reflect that.