The state of immigration detention and deportations in the United States
As a new chapter in politics opens in the United States, the fight to end detentions and deportations in our country is not only once again at the forefront, but years of organizing are also now paying off.
The brand-new Biden administration starting on Day 1 with action on the immigration front.
Biden announced his executive order of a 100-day moratorium on deportations – but not all deportations. This order still leaves room for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to decide which deportations they can enforce. This order doesn’t include the release of all of those thousands of people detained throughout the country. It keeps them in immigration prisons (detention centers according to Immigration Custom Enforcement, or ICE) while COVID-19 keeps spreading and a new strand has already hit the United States.
The announced legislation that could set the stage for a mass regularization program has not yet been introduced in the Senate. It includes several of our demands and as many communities as possible. It gives preference to DACA-eligible communities, people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and farmworkers with a five-year wait for citizenship.
For everyone else, we must wait eight years – when a new administration could undo some of these gains. And it does not call for the closing of private detention centers as Biden mentioned during his campaign.
Although it’s important to celebrate the victories, to recognize that these efforts come from our pressure on the Biden administration – and that is a good start – we cannot ignore the fact that this is not enough. We can’t have a regularization program without undoing the detention and deportation machine. We can’t accept a bill which does not include reducing the budget for ICE and CBP and which doesn’t end the collaboration among immigration enforcement, tech surveillance and local enforcement.
Now is not the time to accept the little we have on the table. Now is the time to push harder and demand that the Democrats pay their debt to our communities by meeting our demands to end all detentions and deportations; abolish ICE and set up a regularization process that doesn’t take years. We have waited too long already.