2020 presents an opportunity to mobilize voters and the nation around a new framework on immigration, one that is grounded in the shared vision of “helping people without hurting people.” Building off of the persistence and hard work of the immigrant justice movement and its allies, progressive candidates can now help push forward an agenda that lifts the voices and hopes of all immigrants to achieve justice for our communities.
Although the next president will inherit more detention camps and deportation agents than ever before, we know most Americans support citizenship, are appalled by the cruelty of detention camps, and oppose mass deportation. After these years of Trump’s runaway racism and decades of a deadly status quo built by both parties, progressive voters are now demanding a new president to stop the pain and lead the nation in a new direction.
The next president must use her/his moral and executive authority to drive policymaking in a direction based on the vision of “helping people without hurting people.” For decades, Washington has done the opposite. While new citizenship laws have been blocked in Congress, a bipartisan frenzy on increasing deportations and detention camps has led to ICE and CBP becoming the largest federal law enforcement agencies in the nation with little to no oversight.
It is time for political leaders to craft creative proposals that “help people without hurting people” at all levels of government, and in all facets of our lives from foreign policy to healthcare access, women’s, workers’, and LGBTQ+ rights, to education and creating a sustainable environment.
That’s why United We Dream Action, MoveOn, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Working Families, Sunrise, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Indivisible, and the Women’s March are announcing Free To Move, Free To Stay a new framework on immigration that calls to:
The next president must lead the nation and set policies that treat immigrants as human beings and revolutionize the laws governing migration. The current complex web of rules and decades-long waiting periods don’t work for families, businesses, or employers, and must be changed to keep families together and to strengthen our economy.
Oftentimes, immigration status determines the level of barriers for immigrants and their families in accessing health care, higher education, housing, and other social programs. Immigrants live, work, and go to school in our communities and deserve a fair shot to succeed and thrive in our country. The next president must work to unlock the American Dream for all immigrant families by eliminating anti-immigrant barriers across federal programs.
For decades, politicians have tried and failed to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” bills which paired new citizenship laws with laws to criminalize immigrants and grow the deportation forces. It is a trojan horse promising citizenship while carrying a deadly trade-off of more family separation, detention camps, deportations, and pain. Democratic presidential candidates should not advocate for more detention camps, deportations and the criminalization of immigrants, all have only led to family separations, mistreatment and abuse of children, and the terrorizing and fearfulness of immigrant communities.
The next President must lead the nation and Congress to pass permanent protections for immigrants by using her/his executive powers immediately within their first 100 days in office to protect immigrants through administrative action, without waiting on legislative progress to be made.
Whether run by for-profit corporations, local governments or federal agencies, the detention camps have become a giant and immoral drain on the federal budget and with the sole intention of inflicting pain on immigrant communities, particularly on children and women. Immigrant detention camps are an arm of the mass-incarceration system which the next president must end.
The immigration enforcement agencies of ICE, CBP and others must stop hunting down, detaining, and deporting immigrants. The world has been shocked to see children stolen from their parents and families ripped apart. Women, particularly women of color, trans women, pregnant women, and new mothers have been especially vulnerable to conditions that threaten their health and put them at risk of sexual abuse, physical violence, and rape. There is a moral imperative to end this reign of terror and hold the deportation forces accountable. We must not fund and maintain a giant deportation force that hunts down immigrants.
Both parties have built up a massive and unaccountable multi-billion dollar industry of detention camps, hunted families, and escalated chaos through massive budget increases year after year. The result: an entire population held in a state of perpetual fear and an unnecessary bureaucracy built up to hunt them down. The enforcement increases must end, and the billions of dollars currently spent on raids to terrorize immigrant families should be used instead to enable our communities to thrive. ICE and CBP have proven they cannot operate in good faith to support immigrants. Both agencies have lost public trust and should be defunded and held accountable for its abuse and mistreatment of immigrants and asylum seekers.