Editor’s Note: Latino Rebels received the following media release from Mijente on Monday morning.
ATLANTA — Mijente today will launch its Eyes on ICE campaign with the first in a series of Truth and Accountability Forums designed to expose the cruelties of U.S. immigration practices, independently audit the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and give a platform to voices too often ignored in the immigration policy debate.
In response to President Biden’s promise of a comprehensive internal review of the practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Mijente is conducting a parallel investigation—one which centers the people who have experienced the immigration process in this country first hand.
“We appreciate President Biden’s commitment to investigating ICE, but the Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to be transparent in reporting the harms caused by its own policies,” said Jacinta Gonzalez, a Senior Campaign Organizer for Mijente. “Given its 18-year-track record of assaults on the dignity of immigrant communities, DHS must be forced to justify its continued existence.”
The Truth and Accountability Forums are presented in collaboration with the We Are Home coalition, and will be held across the United States. The first forum is tonight in Atlanta and the series will conclude with a national event in April, to which DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been invited.
“If Secretary Mayorkas is deciding the future of our nation’s immigration policy, he should hear directly from those who have been victimized by it,” said Marisa Franco, Director of Mijente. “It is time for the federal government to overhaul and shrink an interior enforcement system that has done immeasurable damage to immigrant communities in every corner of this country. The federal government currently wastes more than $25 billion each year on ICE and CBP to profile, jail, and deport immigrants—funding that could be spent on our public schools, expanding Medicaid, or investing in a sustainable power grid.”
The announcement of the Eyes on ICE campaign comes on the heels of a new Senate bill which would offer immigrant essential workers a path to citizenship.
“We are glad that the Senate is moving to offer citizenship to the people who have risked their lives every day for the last year to keep this country afloat, but we need to think even bigger,” said Tania Unzueta, Political Director of Mijente. “It’s past time for the American government to produce a cogent plan to provide citizenship to every immigrant to this country — and it certainly should not be in the business of deporting folks while getting its act together.”
As part of the We Are Home coalition, Mijente has made the following demands of the Biden administration—all of which can be achieved by executive order:
- Make good on President Biden’s promise to halt deportations by directing ICE to grant Stays of Removal to all individuals facing deportation and conduct a review to release every person currently in detention; as 120 legal experts and law professors have explained, the temporary restraining order issued by a Trump-appointed Judge does not bar the Biden Administration from taking these actions;
- Close detention facilities and end the use of private prisons and state and local jails;
- Stop fusing policing with mass deportation by ending the 287(g) program, the Secure Communities program, and the use of ICE detainers;
- Close hundreds of thousands of pending deportation cases on the immigration court docket;
- Adopt prosecutorial discretion guidelines that provide relief from hyper-criminalization, not more punishment;
- Allow people seeking asylum at the southern border to enter the country—instead of detaining or turning them away.