Statement from Vera Vice President Kica Matos on the Biden Administration’s Latest Immigration Actions

The Biden-Harris administration has started to take the crucial first steps needed to address the unfair and dehumanizing policies that mark every aspect of America’s immigration system. While some of the policies that are being addressed, like the public charge rule, were introduced in the past administration, mass detention and deportation were a shared practice across presidential administrations for decades, terrorizing Black, brown, and immigrant communities. The Biden-Harris administration is rightfully prioritizing the reunification of families intentionally separated at the border and seeking to dismantle the due process nightmare of “Remain in Mexico” and anti-asylum policies. But to work toward a fair immigration system with equal justice, every immigrant facing deportation should have their case meaningfully heard in court. This requires the administration to ensure that every person facing deportation who cannot afford an attorney is represented by a government-funded lawyer regardless of race, national origin, or history with the criminal legal system. Without counsel, immigrants have little chance of successfully fighting deportation.

In addition, the latest package of immigration actions does not address the continued use of for-profit private prisons and county jails by ICE. President Biden must live up to his campaign promise and remove money-driven incentives from immigration detention and commit to ending the immigration detention system.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:
The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

Related Content