Vera Institute of Justice on President Biden’s State of The Union Address

FEBRUARY 8, 2023
Contact: Michael Czaczkes,, 917-285-0277

NEW YORK – Yesterday, President Biden delivered his second state of the union address. Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s State of the Union address was an opportunity to show that this country can come together on safety, justice, fairness, and accountability for everyone—regardless of where they live, where they come from, or the color of their skin. A month after Memphis police officers murdered Tyre Nichols, President Biden responded with urgency and acknowledged the need for change to the status quo on public safety and policing. I commend him for committing to more support for the evidence-backed investments that prevent crime before it happens—such as civilian crisis response, community violence intervention, and more treatment and services—instead of just reacting in the aftermath. I was moved to see him look Tyre Nichols’s parents in their eyes and promise to deliver on the kind of police reforms that may have kept their son alive. Now, the President must turn his rhetoric into action, and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress for greater police accountability and a more comprehensive approach to delivering safety and justice.

I urge the President and his administration to bring the same focus and urgency to immigration as his remarks did to public safety and policing. We stand ready to work with the administration and Congress to ensure safety, fairness, and justice for all. Rather than fall back on inhumane immigration policies such as Title 42 that prevent people from seeking their lawful right to asylum at our borders, President Biden must commit to restoring access to a safe and humane immigration system that ensures due process—including a universal right to legal representation for anyone who faces detention and deportation. We must not give in to fearmongering and instead stand by our values to work toward solutions that center our longstanding commitment to fairness and due process in this country.

President Biden offered a strong narrative for creating equitable, long-term, and sustainable safety and justice. Still, as we seek to foster thriving communities across the United States where everyone feels welcome, we cannot turn our backs on people seeking safety and freedom in this country by restricting their right to access asylum. There is still much work to do, and we must work across the aisle and with urgency to turn words into the policies our communities deserve.”


About Vera Institute of Justice: The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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