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Contact NIJC Communications Director Tara Tidwell Cullen at (312) 833-2967 or by email.

Following Announcement of Marijuana Pardons, Organizations Push for Protection of Individuals with Deportable Convictions

More than 130 immigration, criminal justice, and civil rights organizations released a letter today urging the Biden administration to include immigrants in the pardon process. The letter is a response to President Biden’s recent marijuana convictions pardon announcement, which explicitly excludes many immigrants and omits affirmative measures to ensure that all immigrants get meaningful relief from the immigration consequences that can follow marijuana convictions.

Led by the National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) and National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), the letter urges President Biden to extend protection to all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, and to take necessary steps to ensure that immigrants do not suffer negative immigration consequences from marijuana convictions.

In June 2021, when the Biden administration first announced the development of a pardon process focused on pursuing racial equity, nearly 200 civil rights, immigration, and criminal justice organizations released a similar letter emphasizing that immigration is a racial justice issue and urging the president to include immigrants in the pardon process.

Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project:

"To truly promote racial equity, the President's pardon process must include meaningful relief for immigrants. Black and brown immigrants are disproportionately targeted and punished twice over, first by the criminal system and then by the immigration system. President Biden must ensure that immigrants can benefit equally from this process, and that people who receive a pardon or clemency are able to return to their communities and are not subject to detention and deportation."

Heidi Altman, Policy Director, National Immigrant Justice Center:

“Overpolicing and mass incarceration continue to destabilize Black and Brown communities at a shockingly disparate rate. These unjust racial disparities separate families and halt livelihoods. These harms fall on Black and Brown immigrants and U.S. citizens in equal measure. Yet when important measures are taken to ameliorate these injustices, immigrants too often are left behind. We call on the Biden administration to ensure that pardon and clemency measures extend to the immigration consequences that result from the underlying conviction, and that such measures include all immigrants.”


Press Contacts: 

Arianna Rosales, National Immigration Project,, (202) 524-9121

Tara Tidwell Cullen, National Immigrant Justice Center,, (312) 833-2967



The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Learn more at Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

National Immigrant Justice Center is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Visit and follow @NIJC on Twitter.