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A blueprint for policy rooted in compassion and fairness

Across the country, community members who have been hurt by detention and deportation are organizing to repair the harm caused by unjust immigration laws of the past. Anti-immigrant laws passed in 1996 drove the mass detention and deportation experienced by Black and Brown immigrants today.

To secure the full human rights of all members of our communities, we need a new way forward for immigrant justice — one that ends senseless divisions of “good versus bad” immigrants and recognizes that all communities deserve dignity, restoration, and repair.

Under the Biden administration, the number of people incarcerated in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody has reached as high as 30,000, and the agency is funded to detain up to 34,000 people. The administration has apprehended, deported, and expelled millions of people in the last three years, causing irreparable harm to people, families, and communities across the country.

The New Way Forward Act is a critical reimagining of our immigration system rooted in compassion, fairness, and humanity. The legislation takes key steps to separate U.S. immigration laws from the excesses and racist outcomes of the criminal legal system by repealing harsh and outdated 1996 immigration laws, and disentangling local police from federal immigration.

Among other provisions, the New Way Forward Act:

  • Limits the criminal legal system to deportation pipeline 
  • Ends mandatory detention and for-profit detention
  • Ends entanglement between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement
  • Ends criminal prosecution of migration
  • Provides people who have been deported the opportunity to apply to return home
  • Restores due process protections and judicial discretion, so that immigration judges are no longer forced to deport people automatically without considering individual circumstances
  • Implements a five-year statute of limitations for removal, so community members can move forward with their lives without fear that an old sentence could lead to deportation years later 
  • Creates a community-based support program outside of ICE to provide immigrants with access to social services, medical and mental health services, and other critical resources

Read more: Full bill text | Backgrounder | Section-by-section summary | Updates for reintroduction in the 118th Congress


Robert's Story: Punished Again and Again

“Our legal system has something called 'double jeopardy,' where you can’t be punished twice for the same crime. Because I am an immigrant, I’m being punished again and again. Our current laws continue to punish individuals – like me -- even after we complete our sentences. There are other people like me, still stuck in the system and facing the same situation of a double injustice. We should be able to rejoin our families and communities."

Listen to Robert's testimony on the need for a New Way Forward: