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:
For decades, politicians have tried and failed to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” bills which paired new citizenship laws with laws to increase the deportation forces and criminalize immigrants and their communities. Each time, the bills have been a trojan horse – promising citizenship while carrying a deadly provisions to tear families apart, build detention camps, deport our people, and inflict pain on our communities. And while comprehensive reform bills have failed, deportation budget bills have passed each year, growing ICE and CBP to massive and deadly levels. No Democratic presidential candidate should advocate for more detention camps, deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Instead, the next president should repeal these racist policies and laws that send immigrants to prison and subsequently to their deportation and pursue pathways to citizenship that are not attached to harms against our communities.
The next President must take immediate, executive action to stop the abductions and abuses of the deportation force after Trump by stopping deportations in their first 100 days by issuing an immediate end to deportations and using their executive powers to protect immigrants through administrative action, while legislative progress is made.
Whether run by for-profit corporations, local governments or federal agencies, the detention camps are a giant and immoral drain on the morality and budget of our nation. They are massive centers of pain in which immigrant communities, including children and parents, are suffering right now. Women of color, trans people, pregnant women, and new mothers are being made sick and have been especially vulnerable to conditions that threaten their health and are being physically, mentally and sexually abused in the detention camps. Immigrant detention camps are a part of the racist mass-incarceration system which is responsible for ripping apart Black and brown families. The next president must close all immigration detention camps within their first 100 days in office.
The immigration enforcement agencies of ICE, CBP and others must stop abducting, kidnapping and deporting immigrants. The world has been shocked to see children stolen from their parents and families ripped apart. Workplace raids, mass abductions, kidnappings and agents who abuse with impunity – there is a moral imperative on the next President to end this reign of terror and appoint a DHS secretary who will commit to holding deportation agents accountable and dismantling the bloated and dangerous ICE and CBP agencies.
The next president must rebuild the laws on migration so that they treat immigrants as the human beings that we are. 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. The next president must change policies and work with Congress to pass laws to make immigration levels and processes meet the needs of our country and communities.
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.
Massive, annual budget increases for the multi-billion dollar industry of detention camps, hunted families, and escalated chaos must be reversed. The billions of dollars currently spent on raids to terrorize immigrant families should be used instead to enable our communities to thrive. The next President must propose an FY22 budget in their first 100 days that cuts funding to the Deportation Force of ICE and CBP to begin reversing the damage immediately.