2021.10.1 — In response to the Department of Homeland Security memo, the Immigrant Justice Network issued the following statement.
President Biden came to office promising to change course on immigration policy, but the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo continues to rely on flawed narratives of “public safety,” “national security,” and “border security” that lead to increased detention and deportation.
We recognize the absence of bright line exclusions is the result of years of organizing and advocacy by organizations who have uplifted the devastation caused by crim-imm provisions. However, while these new deportation priorities move away from categorical exclusions, they continue to permit immigration officials to have dangerous, broad discretion in choosing whom to arrest, detain and deport, leaving the door open to the targeting of Black and brown immigrants.
As a leading advocacy voice against the criminalization of immigrants, the Immigrant Justice Network (IJN) demands that DHS end the racist criminal legal system as a metric to determine who should be detained or deported. We’ve seen similar “enforcement priorities” in the past that have led to human rights abuses, increased policing, and family separation. It is extremely disappointing to witness the Biden-Harris administration backtracking on campaign promises and repackaging the harmful policies used by previous administrations.
Just days ago, the nation witnessed the brutalization of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol. While the administration expressed “outrage,” its words are further hollowed by this memo, which labels people who recently arrived in the United States or are apprehended at the border as “threats to border security.” These false labels perpetuate the cruel and inhumane treatment of migrants at the border.
Detention numbers have skyrocketed under the Biden administration, this memo will likely only help to continue this trend.
Immigrant Justice Network (IJN) members include Families for Freedom, Grassroots Leadership, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Just Futures Law, the National Immigrant Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Puente Human Rights Movement, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network.