For Immediate Release: January 21, 2022
Advocates Discuss Immigration Promises and the Anniversary of President Biden’s Inauguration
Listen to a recording of the call here
Washington, DC – Today, We Are Home hosted a press call to mark President Biden’s one year in office, highlighting key promises unkept, Trump policies still in place, and the deficit of trust between Democrats and immigrants and immigrant communities.
The speakers reminded the Biden-Harris administration of promises made and outlined policies where there is need for improvement in legalization and citizenship, detention and enforcement priorities.
“On Day One, President Biden introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act, but without a clear legislative strategy to secure success,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). “One year later, we note that the soaring rhetoric with which President Biden entered the White House remains a promise unfulfilled. We deserve better! We keep committing to this country, and we need it to commit to us. We look to President Biden and Vice President Harris to do more for the immigrants who worked so hard to bring them to office.”
Guerline Jozef, Co-founder and Executive Director, Haitian Bridge Alliance said, “It is deeply disturbing and disappointing where we are one year into the Biden-Harris administration. The Bien-Harris administration is failing migrants. For one, the administration is continuously fighting in Court to continue to use Title 42, a policy implemented by white nationalists, and has a disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers. On the 1st anniversary of the Biden-Harris administration, they sent 2 deportation flights to Haiti with pregnant women and babies. Since the beginning of the administration, there have been 184 flights and close to 19,000 people to Haiti. On these flights are pregnant women, children, and infants as young as nine days old going to a country that the administration has on several occasions acknowledged is unsafe. Further, the way that the administration is dismissing responsibility, as seen by the fact that no results have been published on the investigation concerning the treatment of Black migrants in Del Rio, it is clear that their promise to build back better is not being fulfilled. What the world witnessed in Del Rio is part of president Biden and Vice-President Harris legacy”
“Our communities have been hurting and neglected for a long time. Despite rallying behind President Biden to help him defeat Trump in the 2020 presidential election, we are disappointed with his first year in office. According to Democratic figures, some progress has been made, including decreasing ICE removals and rescinding the public charge rule. But true commitment comes with real policy change,” said Oscar Lopez, Impacted Community Member with Make the Road Pennsylvania. “We need meaningful and permanent solutions. Without the immigrant community, there is no essential workforce in this country. We urge President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Congress to recognize our everyday contributions and secure a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better package. Millions of lives depend on it.”
“A history-making coalition of multigenerational, multiracial voters delivered President Biden and Democrats a governing trifecta to enact a transformational vision for our communities,” said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center. “As we look back on President Biden’s first year in office, we recognize the slow progress made toward undoing the damage of the Trump administration. However, our eyes remain fixed on the work that still needs to be done to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions who call the U.S. home and build a 21st century immigration system rooted in justice and equity. We urge President Biden to lead with courage, using all levers of government to deliver meaningful change for our immigrant communities. Democrats will be judged on results, not their good intentions.”
Silky Shah, Executive Director, Detention Watch Network, said, “We are disappointed and frustrated that President Biden has not kept his campaign promises to undo the criminalization and punitive nature of the immigration detention and deportation system. He has not reduced detention as he promised, but rather expanded it, and continued Trump-era immigration policies. These decisions have occurred amidst the backdrop of COVID which disproportionately affects those in detention. Biden has not phased out the use of private prisons by ICE, and the number of people in detention has only gone up since Biden took office. Sec. Mayorkas has claimed that ICE has changed, but we do not see that. Regardless of where someone is from or why they migrate to the US, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Detention is costly, morally wrong, and completely unnecessary. As we head into the second year of the Biden administration, we remain steadfast in our demand to #Free Them All, reduce the number of ICE agents, and end the use of immigration detention in its entirety.”
We Are Home is a nationwide campaign fighting to ensure that “we the people” includes all of us. Our mission is to transform America’s inhumane immigration system. We must undo the damage of the last four years and build a new immigration system that is fair, humane, functional, and centered in racial justice, and respects all people, regardless of race, religion, or birthplace. And we must immediately enact legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship for every immigrant who calls this country home.. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers (UFW), and United We Dream.