February 18, 2021


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We Are Home and More Than 100 National and State Advocacy Organizations Urge Sec. Mayorkas, Biden Administration to Implement Immediate Enforcement Reforms 

In a letter to government leaders, group calls for immediate action to reduce the harms of detention and deportation within 100 days

WASHINGTON, DC — The We Are Home campaign, alongside more than one hundred national and state advocacy organizations, today urged Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Biden administration to take immediate steps to reduce the harms of detention and deportation through crucial executive actions within the next 100 days. 

The letter calls on DHS to institute seven specific policy changes to begin to overhaul the immigration enforcement system: 

  • Implementation of the interim enforcement priorities, including affirmative consideration of release for people in detention;
  • immediate halt to deportations to Haiti and proactive grants of stays of removal;
  • immediate closure of detention facilities and an end to the use of private prisons and state and local jails;
  • termination of 287(g), Secure Communities, and ICE detainers; 
  • closure of hundreds of thousands of pending immigration court cases; 
  • flipping the framework of prosecutorial discretion so the focus is on relief and not punishment; and 
  • welcoming of asylum seekers at the southern border without detention.       

“The Biden-Harris administration has an opportunity in these early days through quick executive action not only to reverse the painful harm imposed on immigrant communities over the past four years, but to take bold steps toward a more just and humane immigration system for the future,” stated Nayna Gupta, Associate Policy Director at the National Immigrant Justice Center. “We urge the administration to immediately decrease the use of detention and deportation as tools of enforcement for civil immigration laws. These harsh and punitive practices undermine public safety and target Black and Brown immigrant communities.”

The letter calls on Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration to take action immediately: 

“Reversing the dysfunction and brutality of the immigration enforcement system must be a central priority for the new Administration. It is time to challenge the misconception that detention and deportation must anchor the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, and instead build a fair, humane, and functional system that facilitates compliance and respects all people regardless of race, religion, or birthplace. In the long term, enforcement reform will require Congressional action. However, significant progress can be made through executive action – and the needs are urgent.”

Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), added, “Our communities need bold, visionary actions to reverse the devastating harm the mass incarceration and deportation of Black and brown immigrants have wrought. We urge the Biden administration to use this moment to move towards racial justice in the immigration context, and towards an immigration system that reflects values of humanity and compassion. For that to happen, we need to see an end to detention and deportation, and a move away from systems of exclusion and double punishment.” 

Nathaly Arriola, Campaign Director of We Are Home, also stated, “The detention and deportation system has devastated millions of families who call this country home – and the impact of this cruel system has fallen disproportionately on Black and Brown immigrants. The new Administration must make good on its commitment to racial equity by taking immediate action to blunt the harms of enforcement, and build toward a new system that is fair and humane and treats immigrants with the dignity they deserve.”

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 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.

Signatories on the letter to Secretary Mayorkas include:


Adelante Alabama Worker Center

Advancement Project, National Office

Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention

Aldea – The People’s Justice Center

Alianza Americas

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

America’s Voice

American Friends Service Committee

American Immigration Council

Americans for Immigrant Justice

Arkansas United 

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Bridges Faith Initiative

California Immigrant Policy Center


Center for Disability Rights

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Popular Democracy

Church World Service

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)

Community Asylum Seekers Project

Community Change Action

Community Justice Exchange

Corazon Latino

Desert Support for Asylum Seekers

Detention Watch Network

Doctors for Camp Closure

Doctors for Camp Closure

Faith in Action

Faith in Public Life

Families for Freedom

First Focus on Children

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Freedom for Immigrants

Government Information Watch

H-CAN Immigration and Refugee group

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immigrant Action Alliance

Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Immigrant Legal Defense

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Immigration Hub


Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice

International Detention Coalition 

Justice Strategies

Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo School of Law

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

Legal Aid Justice Center

Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention

Make the Road New York

Maryland Against ICE Detention

Memphis United Methodist Immigrant Relief Fund

Mi Familia Vota

Mid-South Immigration Advocates


Minnesota Interfaith Coalition on Immigration

National Association of Social Workers

National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Law Center

National Immigration Litigation Alliance

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 

National Partnership for New Americans

Nebraska Appleseed

New York Immigration Coalition

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors

NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic

Operation Restoration

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

Physicians for Human Rights

Poder Latinx

POWER Live Free Immigration Group

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Sanctuary DMV

Save the Children Action Network

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team

South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center

Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern Poverty Law Center

Still Waters Anti-trafficking Program

Takoma Park Mobilization

The Advocates for Human Rights

UndocuBlack Network


United Farm Workers

United We Dream


Voces de la Frontera

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

Women’s Refugee Commission

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights


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