San Antonio, TX – In response to President Biden’s remarks on immigration during his address to Congress, RAICES released the following statement:
“As we approach the 100 days of the Biden administration, it’s important to remember that he had bold promises on immigration when he took office. Some of them have been accomplished, but there is much, much more to be done”, said Erika Andiola, Chief Advocacy Officer at RAICES. “Only focusing on the reversal of some of the harm that Trump inflicted upon immigrants, refugees and border communities is crucial, but it’s not progress. Progress and justice for the immigrant community means completely undoing every hurtful policy and going beyond the status quo of the Obama administration and his predecessors.”
“Justice for immigrants means continuing to defend those who are seeking home and safety in this country against the attacks of Trump like politicians who are using the humanitarian challenges at the border for political gain,” she continued.
“Undocumented people have been forced to live in the shadows for too long! Regardless of how much we contribute to our communities, especially during the pandemic, we are often left behind, further criminalized, continuously targeted by ICE, detained and deported,” said Nancy Meza, National Organizing Director at RAICES. “Immigrants have lived through enough broken promises on immigration. Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and the Dream Act have failed in congress time and time again, even when Democrats had the majority.”
“In this 100 day anniversary of his presidency, we demand that President Biden and Democrats in Congress keep their promise and provide the immigrant community with freedom to work with dignity and respect, freedom from detention and freedom from deportation,” she continued. “They have no excuse. They can still use every tool at their disposal, such as supporting legalization through the reconciliation process, abolishing the filibuster, using executive action to end the detention and deportation machine and using executive power to give administrative relief to as many people as possible.”
The following policy changes can be done through executive action. President Biden can and must act now in order to keep his promises. He can:
- End Title 42, which is used to expel people without access to asylum, particularly targeting Black migrants, families and adults.
- Expedite the reunification of detained migrant children with their sponsors and work towards closing every ERC and EIS facility.
- Reinstate and designate TPS for Haiti, Cameroon, Guatemala and other countries in need.
- Despite the lawsuit against the moratorium on deportations, the President can direct ICE to use their discretion to stop the unjust detention and deportation of families, children and individuals.
- End the use of expedited removal.
- End the use of detention (short term steps: end the use of family detention, end the use of private prisons).
- End local/state and federal law enforcement cooperation – 287g, secure communities, etc.