ACLU Comment on Biden Immigration Orders

February 2, 2021 7:30 am

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WASHINGTON — President Biden signed executive orders that, among other things, initiate a review process for certain Trump-era anti-immigrant policies and create a task force focused on reuniting families.

The American Civil Liberties Union litigated against many of the policies that today’s orders focus on, including family separation and the forced return to Mexico policy, also known as the “Migration Protection Protocols.”

The following are reactions to the Biden immigration orders:

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, led a team of litigators that challenged many Trump policies:

“We commend the steps the Biden administration has taken so far to begin the process of rebuilding our asylum system. But it is troubling that today’s orders did not include immediate action to rescind and unwind more of the unlawful and inhumane policies that this administration inherited — and now owns. The government must move quickly and boldly to make these necessary changes, which are urgently needed because so many people are suffering right now.”

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, lead lawyer in the family separation lawsuit:

“The task force has a broad mandate and we are pleased to see the Biden administration’s commitment to reuniting families in the United States, protecting them from deportation, and care. However, all 5,500-plus separated families need immediate action — they cannot wait 120 days for a task force to make recommendations. These families deserve citizenship, care, and resources. We hope the task force acts with urgency, and look forward to working with it to reunite families and ensure that this never happens again.”

ACLU attorney Judy Rabinovitz, lead lawyer in the challenge to Trump’s forced return to Mexico/Migration Protection Protocols policy:

“It is a positive sign that the Biden administration does not want to defend this policy before the Supreme Court, and that it has already suspended the addition of any more people to the program. But it must now go further. The administration needs to make the announced suspension permanent and address the situation of the thousands of migrants who remain stranded in Mexico under the policy.

“These individuals, including young children, have been subjected to tremendous hardship and violence as a result of the policy. The administration must commit to a process for bringing them to the United States, where they can pursue their asylum claims from a safe environment and can begin to heal from the trauma they have experienced.”

Manar Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel for the ACLU:

“Among the Biden administration’s important actions is a review of the Trump administration’s systematic attacks on Black and Brown U.S. citizens through its unprecedented denaturalization efforts. We hope that this review results in the suspension of denaturalizations and passport revocations, as well as the dismantling of Trump’s task force and related offices. In its place, the Biden administration should institute policies that return denaturalization to its historic rare use, so that all U.S. citizens are equal under the law and able to act on their rights and responsibilities without fear.”

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