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November 1929: The ACLU urged asylum for poet Salomon de la Selva and seven other Nicaraguans held on Angel Island in San Francisco. The eight were expelled from their country for protesting the presence of U.S. Marines there, but denied asylum here, the ACLU/SC's Open Forum noted. (U.S. troops were stationed in Nicaragua almost continuously from 1912 to 1933.) After the ACLU became involved, the State Department allowed De la Selva and four others to remain in the U.S.

The ACLU/SC continues to defend the rights of asylum seekers. The ACLU/SC challenged the indefinite detention of immigrants who are appealing their decisions, and a dozen immigration detainees have been released since 2004 as a result of ACLU/SC efforts.

Photo: U.S. Marines in Nicaragua, c. 1927-1929. Source: Library of Congress