Immigration ala Biden

By Blue

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations! And good job on all those Executive Orders (EO’s) the first day, particularly the ones designed to help the 11 million immigrants. Fixing the immigration system – what a task that will be. How do you fix something that isn’t really broken? After all, it is a well-oiled machine operating exactly as it is intended to run based in a racist system. And it is not just the rogue agency, ICE, that is the problem because there are collaborators all over the country. Plus there are “carve outs” in the laws that were supposedly enacted to protect our immigrant community which allow collaborators (like sheriffs) to turn people over to ICE even in sanctuary states.

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You did try to stop deportations for a few months. Bet you didn’t even think the Trump-appointed judge in Texas would notice? Oh well, ICE was ahead of this game anyway. They deported 26,248 people in January of this year and thanks to that judge they are still at it.

And how about your EO to reform the asylum system? In January, the u.s. border patrol reported the expulsion of over 62,000 asylum seekers without due process under Title 42, a 1944 public health law re-enacted by the previous administration amid a rise in Covid-19 cases. Biden aides say there are no plans to end Title 42. On March 12th, 136 Haitians were expelled using this authority. 1300 Haitians have been sent back since the beginning of the year. Why aren’t Haitians allowed TPS (Temporary Protected Status)? ICE has continued to aggressively enforce Trump-era policies that target Black asylum seekers and immigrants for exclusion, detention and deportation. As deportation flights take off almost every day to countries like Cameroon, Mauritania, Angola, Congo, Haiti and Jamaica, the Biden-Harris Administration remains silent.

In reality, locking asylum seekers in immigration detention remains an unsafe and inhumane practice, particularly in the time of Covid-19. And detention continues to be especially dangerous for Trans and gender non-conforming people. The u.s. asylum system needs significant reforms in order to be safe for Trans asylum seekers.

Mr. President, you also promised to end the long-term detention of migrant families. ICE plans to discontinue the use of one such facility, but will continue to hold families for three days or less at two other for-profit facilities in Texas. Agencies and organizations dedicated to helping immigrants at the border and inside the US continue to document reports of abuse, cruelty and neglect perpetrated by ICE, border patrol officials, and contract workers in for-profit detention centers.

I hope you are just as disgusted as all of us by the existence of private-run, for-profit prisons and detention centers and their abysmal record of abuses. One of your EOs addresses this and directs the Department of Justice to not renew contracts with private prisons. So, why are you opening a new for-profit detention center in Florida for immigrant children who arrive unaccompanied by an adult? Yes, there are hundreds of unaccompanied children arriving all the time but there are agencies and organizations already helping to find homes and appropriate places for them. Locking anyone in detention is unsafe and inhumane.

Speaking of children, I was glad to see you are willing to help the Dreamers. There are 1,326,000 who have lived here most of their lives. Congress needs to pass permanent legislation to protect them including bringing home the Dreamers who were deported and releasing those who were captured during the last 4 years.

Good move on halting the construction of the border wall. That will save some money, so far about $14.97 billion since 2017. Maybe some of that money can be used to “increase resources for asylum seekers”, and support the farmworkers and other immigrant groups struggling to get by day to day.

Unfortunately the administration continues to surveil our immigrant communities. One method is the new use of Automated License Plate Readers, a form of surveillance that intrudes on the privacy and safety of everyone. ICE will use this technology to track, target, and deport immigrants. Just another part of the racist system that needs to end now.

And lastly, we don’t need to increase training and accountability for immigration agents. We need to abolish ICE, the u.s. border patrol and the dept. of homeland security. They are racist agencies that do nothing to make anyone safe and protected.

Yours truly,

Just Us

Author: lagai

LAGAI-Queer Insurrection is one of the oldest radical queer liberation groups in the U.S. We publish UltraViolet, a more or less bimonthly newspaper, which is mailed free of charge to over 1500 people, including over 800 prisoners. Our website is www.lagai.org.

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