Immigrant families could face devastating consequences because of Biden’s empty promises.
President Biden’s broken promises on immigrant rights continue to pile up. During his 2020 presidential campaign, President Biden said he would “end Trump’s detrimental asylum policies” and “the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border.” In addition, he vowed that “children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately.”
And now? It is clear that President Biden’s promises were empty. He continues to lead on the issue of immigration by borrowing from Trump’s playbook.
The Biden Administration confirmed yesterday that they are considering reinstating the traumatizing practice of putting migrant families into detention centers.
“Re-opening family detention is a terrible step in the wrong direction,” said Thayer Hardwick, Managing Attorney at CAIR Coalition, who previously worked with individuals in family detention. “At this point, the harm to children caused by family detention is well-documented—it negatively affects all people, especially children’s development, growth, and health. We should not exacerbate the trauma these children have already faced.”
But reinstating these traumatizing practices is not unexpected. Over the last decade, U.S. leadership has consistently rolled back due process protections and norms of human dignity for immigrants. We have witnessed President Trump’s inhumane degradation of immigrants in speeches made concrete with cruel policies designed to gut the U.S. immigration system.
But where the Trump Administration was overt in its attack on asylum seekers, the Biden Administration is quietly sowing just as much “violence and chaos” with destructive new rules and policies.
Like the Biden administration’s recently proposed asylum ban, caging immigrant families to deter them from seeking safety will create more chaos and fear—the opposite of what the Biden campaign vowed they would do when in office.
“Almost a decade ago, a federal court stopped family detention, finding that it likely violates the constitution and causes irreparable harm,” said Adina Appelbaum, Director of the Immigration Impact Lab at CAIR Coalition. “Incarcerating mothers and children—who otherwise would not be a priority for jail—as a policy tool to disincentivize others from seeking asylum protection is cruel.”
We must build a just and humane process for all people seeking refuge in the United States. If the Biden Administration wants to improve border and asylum policy, they must recognize the importance of welcoming people rather than locking them up.