by Sarah Gardiner, Director of Policy, Freedom for Immigrants
After four years of continued attacks against immigrant communities from a racist White House, we enter 2021 with the opportunity to not just roll back harms from the Trump presidency, but to enact bold, systemic reform in furtherance of a just, humane approach to migration. Freedom for Immigrants is committed to ensuring that the Biden-Harris administration lives up to campaign promises to halt deportations and end private detention, while pushing for the phase out of immigration detention entirely and renewed investment in programs that benefit our communities.
During the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration, Freedom for Immigrants will call on the administration to live up to campaign promises for a 100 day halt on deportations for all and to advocate for an immediate halt on transfers between ICE facilities and from local, state, and federal jails and prisons into ICE detention, in combination with a halt on internal enforcement. We will also advocate for ICE to act immediately to conduct a review of everyone in its custody and prioritize for immediate release those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. We will advocate for access to the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone, regardless of citizenship status, and for the vaccine to be administered by qualified health care professionals who have the trust of the people they serve.
In our communications with the Biden-Harris team, we will be clear that we reject carve outs for enforcement relief on the basis of “public safety.” A moratorium on deportation must mean a moratorium on deportation for all. We mean it when we say that we are calling for ICE to #FreeThemAll. We will not leave you behind.
As we move further into 2021, we will continue to call for dramatic cuts to ICE and CBP’s budget, and for funding that is currently used to detain and deport our communities to be spent instead on investments that makes us all healthier and safer. We will call for some of the funding currently used on detention to be used instead to fund case management services for families and individuals who need support in securing housing, legal services, work placement, and other services. We will advocate against release from detention involving ankle monitors and other forms of electronic surveillance and make clear that these programs function as an alternative form of detention and not an alternative to detention. As we work toward abolition, we will continue to expose abuses in detention, and encourage policy makers in Congress to live up to their obligations to ensure oversight and accountability for human rights violations in their jurisdictions.
2021 presents us with the opportunity to make significant progress on our path to abolition. The advocacy community is unified in calling for the Biden-Harris administration to end the use of immigration detention entirely – a shared messaging that would not have been possible even one year ago. This is in large part a testament to the bravery of people like you inside detention who expose abuses and human rights violations at great personal risk. We are honored to be working alongside you for justice.