Washington, DC – As the country celebrates Passover and Holy Week, directly impacted immigrants, clergy, and allies will gather at the national headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to demand an end to deportations and urge Secretary Mayorkas to issue permanent guidance that reflects the dignity and value of immigrants and their families. They will perform a Jericho walk, carrying photos of individuals who have been deported as well as flowers in an act of solidarity, remembrance, and hope for a more human immigration system.
- Jericho walk: circle ICE HQ seven times in a silent procession
Short speaking program with individuals affected by ICE detention or deportation
- WHEN: March 31, 2021, @ 12 pm *rain or shine*
WHERE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters, 500 12th St SW #5600, Washington, DC 20536
WHO: Formerly detained individuals and immigrant activists from Congregation Action Network, CASA, Doctors for Camp Closure, FIRM, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Mijente, National Domestic Workers Alliance
RSVP: For more information on the actions, please contact Jossie Flor Sapunar
MORE: The activists demand policies, including in the forthcoming final “enforcement priorities,” that focus on people, not process, where the default is to deprioritize individuals for removal, uphold family unity, and direct DHS resources to support immigrants rather than punish them. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security should:
- Stop Separating Families by broadly applying Title 42 to justify the deportation of families and parents. COVID-19 is not an excuse to force parents to decide between family unity and their children’s safety.
- Reject categorical exclusions. New guidelines should not include categorical exclusions from positive discretion based prior contact with the criminal legal system, or based on an arbitrarily defined date of entry. Targeting people for enforcement based on past convictions or interaction with the criminal legal system ignores the lessons of criminal justice reform.
- Provide forbearance for broad categories of people. New guidelines should announce broad categories of individuals who are presumptively shielded from enforcement. These categories might include, for example: people who care for minor children or elderly parents; people who are facing immigration consequences from drug-related offenses; those with a pending application for a benefit that could protect them against deportation; and those vulnerable to removal proceedings because of conduct (date of unauthorized entry, visa overstay, or involvement in the criminal legal system) that falls outside of a newly defined statute of limitations of at most five years.
- Encourage forbearance and favorable exercises of prosecutorial discretion in all cases. New guidelines should encourage ICE officers and adjudicators to consider all cases holistically, including those that fall outside of the categories described above. Decisions should rely on factors including length of time in the United States; military service; family or community ties in the United States; status as a victim, witness or plaintiff in civil or criminal proceedings, including administrative proceedings or complaints related to workplace violations; or compelling humanitarian factors such as conditions of life in a person’s home country, history of trauma, disability, poor health, age, pregnancy, a lawfully-present parent, spouse or child of any age, or a seriously ill relative.
- Treat asylum as a humanitarian imperative. New guidelines must make it clear that recent border crossers are not a priority for enforcement, and that DHS is committed to providing safe and meaningful access to asylum at the border, without the use of detention and in partnership with community-based organizations. The January 20th and February 18th memos treat all new arrivals as presumptive security risks, a harmful approach that punishes migrants for fleeing harm and seeking safety in the United States. Instead, the goal should be to ensure access to services, protection, and due process for all.