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Responding to Biden-Sanders Task Force Recommendations on Immigration

“Our country is craving bold leadership that reflects our values of fairness, proportionality, inclusivity, and human dignity” 

[NOTE: This statement has been updated to reflect a correction regarding the task force recommendations]

Cleveland, OH – There are many strong policies in the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force policy recommendations on immigration, but there are also important omissions. The Ohio Immigrant Alliance urges the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee to expand on these recommendations when it meets July 15.

“We will start by righting the wrongs of the Trump Administration,” states the task force document. Absolutely. Putting the deportation system on hold until new policies and priorities are implemented, a recommendation included in the second immigration section of the report, is absolutely critical. Here are additional things that must be done to achieve this goal: 

  • Guaranteeing universal representation in immigration cases; and
  • Expanding administrative pathways for immigrants who were unfairly deported to return to their homes in the United States.

On this last point, the Ohio Immigrant Alliance is circulating a petition to the Democratic Platform Committee highlighting the Hernandez, Ndiaye, Keita, and Acosta families’ goals of once again being together in the United States. The task force addresses this issue by calling for legislative repeal of certain barriers to reunification, stating that “Democrats believe family unity should be a guiding principle for our immigration policy.” What’s missing, though, is recognition that there is more a new administration can do, on its own, to bring families together.

“Reunification of families separated by deportation is a vital part of healing this country after the Trump years,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance. 

The Alliance is pleased to see the task force state that immigration “detention should be a last resort, not the default. Democrats will prioritize investments in more effective and cost-efficient community-based alternatives to detention. We will end for-profit detention centers and ensure that any facility where migrants are being detained is held to the highest standards of care and guarantees the safety and dignity of families.”

Tramonte said: “We remain concerned about how immigrants are treated in county jails as well as corporate prisons. The COVID-19 debacle at the Morrow County Jail, the first 100% positive ICE facility, is a stark reminder that local jails are simply unequipped to care for immigration detainees. What’s more, the very concept of using detention to enforce civil laws is inhumane. Our country is craving bold leadership that reflects our values of fairness, proportionality, inclusivity, and human dignity.” 

Follow the Ohio Immigrant Alliance on Twitter @tramontela