President Biden: Stop Repeating History and End Immigration Detention Now!
Dear President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas,
For decades, detention and deportation have devastated families, disproportionately harming Black and Brown immigrant communities. The dysfunction and brutality of the immigration enforcement system was heightened under the last Administration. Dismantling it must be a central priority for the Biden Administration.
It is long past time to fundamentally shift away from a punitive enforcement model of detention and deportation, and instead build a fair, humane, and functional system that respects all people regardless of race, religion, or birthplace.
Immigrants are home. Immigrants have helped this country make it through a devastating pandemic and play a crucial role in our ongoing recovery. Too many immigrants, however, are simultaneously essential -- to their children, families, employers, neighbors, communities -- and also deportable, vulnerable to an abusive immigration enforcement system that remains largely intact from the Trump Administration.
Freedom, opportunity, and dignity should be at the core of our immigration system. But our current system isn’t set up to uphold these values. Instead, people are deprived of their liberty, separated from their loved ones, and excluded from their communities by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
Every day, immigrant families and communities are harmed by further delay in delivering on this administration’s promises on immigration. The time to act is now.
I urge you to use your executive authority without further delay to:
End the detention of immigrants and people seeking asylum. The Biden Administration must shut down immigration detention facilities, end contracts with private prison companies and local governments, and release people from detention.
End deportations that harm families, workers, and communities. Deportation traumatizes children, chills workers’ rights, and undermines civic participation. It disproportionately harms Black and brown communities. The Biden Administration must protect immigrant families, workers, and communities and center racial justice in immigration.
End the police-to-deportation pipeline. For too long, ICE has relied on local and state police to conduct immigration enforcement, and imported the racial disparities and structural racism of the criminal system into immigration. The entanglement between the police and ICE through programs like 287g and Secure Communities must end.
The clock is ticking.
We cannot turn the page on the xenophobia and racism of the prior Administration without addressing the systems that allowed it to implement its anti-immigrant agenda and the lack of policy reforms to give millions of immigrants a better life in this country.
I hope that you keep your promises and deliver concrete results at this most critical time.