02/18/2021

ICE Will Remain a Well-Oiled Deportation Machine Under Director’s Interim Guidance 
Johnson Guidance Revives ICE’s Racist Agenda from Trump Administration  

(Washington, DC)—Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that it will continue deporting people en masse, resume immigration raids, and target people under the convenient and misleading guise of public safety based on the opinion of an ICE agent.  

ICE Director Tae Johnson’s interim guidance regarding how ICE will carry out the enforcement priorities established by former Acting Secretary Pekoske doom us to repeat the failings of the past.  

Said Lena Graber, Senior Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:  

“This guidance emboldens ICE officers to continue aggressive, racially biased enforcement, raid homes and worksites, lean in to specious and racist gang allegations to demonize immigrants, and enlist state and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts. Most notably, the guidance instructs ICE to detain and deport community members who would otherwise qualify for a path to citizenship under the U.S. Citizenship Act just introduced in partnership with the White House.   

Once again, a false concept of ‘public safety’ is being used to further criminalize immigrants. This is the same rhetoric that was used by the Trump Administration, only anesthetized to mask the underlying prejudice. ICE’s racist cruelty has been on full display during Black History Month, as Biden’s 100-day deportation moratorium has been ignored, resulting in more than 1,000 Black immigrants to be deported. 

The Obama Administration used this machinery to deport millions of people before handing the Trump administration the keys to this well-oiled deportation machine. To begin to undo these harms, the Biden Harris Administration must hear the demands of those impacted most by these policiesour communities and their demands to defund police and abolish ICE and immigration detention. 

Instead of leaning into the misleading framing of ‘public safety,’ we urge the Biden Harris Administration to approach this as an issue of public health and family stability. Today’s memo will continue to separate and destabilize immigrant families through detention and deportation. With the continued threat of COVID19, we urge the administration to focus on community-centered solutions which aim to keep families together, not baseless opportunities to demonize and damage Black and Brown communities.”