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More than 100 Organizations Urge a Centralized Process for a Chance to Come Home

More than 100 Organizations Urge a Centralized Process for a Chance to Come Home

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas Secretary of Homeland Security Washington, DC 20528 June 20, 2023 Re: More than 100 Organizations Urge a Centralized Process for a Chance to Come Home Dear Secretary Mayorkas, We the undersigned organizations respectfully request that you facilitate the returns of unjustly deported people with pending requests to return to the U.S. and establish a centralized process to provide a meaningful chance to come home for people forced to leave behind their families and communities by unjust deportations. You have referred to family unity as a foundational principle underpinning the work of the Department of Homeland Security. Ensuring a meaningful process for deported individuals to apply to return to their loved ones would mark a long-lasting reflection of that commitment. It would also further this administration’s efforts to promote racial equity throughout government programs and policies. And for deported individuals and their loved ones it would mean everything – the chance for families and communities to be made whole after years or decades of painful separation. Our organizations work with and on behalf of many deported individuals. Among others, some have been separated from their loved ones for years and cannot return despite strong legal arguments to reopen their immigration cases and pursue lawful status. Some remain in exile despite having received a pardon or vacatur of the criminal conviction that formed the basis for their deportation. And we work with community members who are haunted by the memory of the day their loved one was picked up in a frightening raid or home arrest under prior administrations. Although current immigration laws have procedures that allow individuals to seek return after deportation, these mechanisms are cumbersome and often difficult or impossible to access for unrepresented individuals who are limited in resources. Further, in our experience immigration adjudicators rarely agree to exercise prosecutorial discretion to support a request to return home, even when the humanitarian circumstances present are extreme. More than a century ago, the Supreme Court described the harsh and permanent nature of the penalty of deportation, which “may result ... in loss of both property and life, or of all that makes life worth living.” Deportations destabilize families, often resulting in food and housing instability.

The deportation of a parent has long-lasting, traumatic mental and physical health effects on children.

The costs of deportation are borne disproportionately by Black and Brown immigrants, and institutional racial biases in the criminal legal system are amplified when deportation is imposed as a second punishment. We therefore urge you to facilitate returns for unjustly deported people with pending requests. And, going forward, we recommend the establishment of a streamlined, centralized system to consider requests for return from people who have been wrongfully or unjustly deported. Bringing home unjustly deported people including parents, community leaders, veterans, workers, and others would advance this administration’s stated goals of family unity and racial equity while making all of our communities stronger. With questions, please contact Nayna Gupta at the National Immigrant Justice Center at Sincerely, National Organizations Acacia Center for Justice African Human Rights Coalition African Immigration Initiative of the Courageous Resistance American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC Black Alliance for Just Immigration Cameroon Advocacy Network Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) Center for the Study of Social Policy Center for Victims of Torture Church World Service Coalition on Human Needs Deported Asylum Seekers Assistance Project Detention Watch Network Drug Policy Alliance Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network) Fight for the Future Freedom for Immigrants Grassroots Leadership Haitian Bridge Alliance Hispanic Federation Human Rights Watch Immigration Equality Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) Justice Action Center Justice in Motion Kino Border Initiative Mijente National Education Association National Employment Law Project National Immigration Law Center National Immigration Litigation Alliance National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) National Partnership for New Americans Oasis Legal Services Quixote Center Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Tahirih Justice Center Tsuru For Solidarity UndocuBlack Network UnidosUS Washington Office on Latin America Witness at the Border Women’s Refugee Commission Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights Regional, state and local organizations ACLU of Northern California ACLU of Southern California Americans for Immigrant Justice Black and Brown United in Action Border Network for Human Rights Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition Catholic Coalition for Migrant Justice Chacon Center for Immigrant Justice at Maryland Carey Law Cincinnati-Hamilton Co. Public Library Cleveland Jobs with Justice Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services Inc El Concilio Family Services Families for Freedom First Friends of New Jersey & New York Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project Florida Immigrant Coalition Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Immigrant Defenders Law Center Immigrant Defense Project Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project Immigrant Legal Defense Interfaith Welcome Coalition - San Antonio InterReligious Task Force on Central America Jesuits West CORE AZ Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA La Resistencia Lamar Unidos Legal Aid Justice Center Make the Road NJ Mariposa Legal, program of COMMON Foundation Midwest Immigration Bond Fund Minnesota Freedom Fund Muslim Justice League NorCal Resist Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Oasis Legal Services Ohio Immigrant Alliance Organized Communities Against Deportations Public Law Center Rhizome Center for Migrants Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network Sidewalk School Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice Texas Advocates for Justice Uncage and Reunite Families Coalition Unified US Deported Veterans Resource Center UnLocal Voces Unidas (RGV) Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration.

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