Trotting Out the Blame Immigrants Playbook is a Travesty

(Washington)—Today, the Departments  of Justice and Homeland Security announced that they will increase resources for criminal prosecutions against migrants for immigration violations. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) condemns the Biden Administration for using the the same racist playbook that scapegoats migrants fleeing from poverty and violence in the name of “law and order.” This is the latest enforcement policy put forth by the Biden Administration as it continues to strip away protections for asylum seekers at the Southern border. These actions are reminiscent of several previous administrations, and are a return to the “zero tolerance” mechanisms employed by the Trump Administration specifically to intimidate and traumatize migrants seeking protection and effectuate family separation.

“Rather than enact policies embracing compassion and humanity, the Biden Administration has continued the trend of using enforcement tactics to target immigrants, especially those who come in contact with the criminal legal system,” said Policy Director Sameera Hafiz. “The Biden Administration has ignored our continued demands to disentangle immigration from the criminal legal system that further funnel immigrants into a deportation pipeline.”

“The ILRC has been greatly frustrated by the Biden Administration’s willingness to pull out the failed playbook of past administrations,” Hafiz added. “ As the anti-immigrant rhetoric continues to grow unchecked, we are disheartened that the Biden administration has opted to lean into troubling immigration policies that fuel mass incarceration, undercut the asylum system and give in to false narratives about immigrants.”

Earlier this year the ILRC issued a report called Critical Action Needed that gives policy solutions that uphold the dignity of all immigrants.  In this report, we call for the end to prosecutions for immigration violations, as these prosecutions drive mass incarceration and target individuals seeking safety, freedom and opportunity. Rather than double down, as the DOJ announced today, the DOJ should end these cruel prosecutions immediately. The administration should instead work alongside border communities to identify their challenges and address their needs.

“The blame immigrants playbook is a travesty, dehumanizing not just immigrants but all Black and Brown people in this country,” Hafiz said.


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC