WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of 120 legal and medical services and advocacy organizations sent a letter to the White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today, asking the Biden administration to review the cases of thousands of people who remain in immigration detention, and release those who do not fall within the enforcement priorities detailed in the DHS enforcement priorities memo that took effect February 1.
The letter was signed by organizations providing services to thousands of individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody who do not fall within the interim enforcement priorities outlined in the memo issued by DHS Acting Secretary David Pekoske on January 20.
“We are heartened by the early steps the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to reorient the U.S. immigration system toward a framework that embraces human rights and compassion,” the letter says. “However, we are concerned that these policies have not yet been implemented in a meaningful or systemic way with regard to the approximately 14,000 people in ICE detention.”
Many of those individuals have already been detained by ICE for years, often separated from young children, and are at heightened risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19. “Many had dared hope they might have a chance for freedom with the beginning of the new administration; this hope is diminishing and turning to despair,” the letter says.
To speak with representatives of organizations signed on to this letter contact:
Tara Tidwell Cullen, NIJC, (312) 833-2967, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Frausto, AIC, (202) 507-7526, email@example.com