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WASHINGTON, DC, November 10, 2020 – Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released recommendations on immigration reform and called upon the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to take swift action to fix the immigration system. The set of key actions were developed in consultation with AILA’s national policy committees and its network of pro bono volunteer lawyers.
AILA President Jennifer Minear stated, “After four years of a destructive and anti-immigrant agenda, America needs a new vision that strengthens our families, communities, and economy and re-establishes us as a welcoming nation. AILA’s plan offers a way forward for the Biden-Harris Administration to alleviate much of the damage done by the Trump administration and set us on the right path for the future.”
AILA Senior Director of Government Relations Greg Chen noted, “This is the beginning of a new era for America that will provide us with the opportunity to be a nation that protects those fleeing persecution, embraces people hailing from different shores, and promotes our shared prosperity. AILA’s vision covers every aspect of the immigration system and every agency that administers it. Families must be able to reunify, enforcement must be humane, immigration courts must be impartial, and undocumented people living in our country should no longer live in fear. Nothing short of a comprehensive plan is needed to restore American values and our standing in the world.”
While ultimately, Congress must pass legislation to ensure lasting structural reforms, the incoming Biden-Harris administration has broad powers it can immediately exercise, including:
- Issue a proclamation welcoming immigrants and renouncing anti-immigrant bans and policies;
- Safeguard our nation’s health against COVID-19 without scapegoating immigrants;
- Appoint leaders committed to the administration’s vision for reform;
- Protect people who are part of our communities but have no way of legalizing their status;
- Ensure fairness, efficiency, and accountability at all immigration agencies including the immigration courts;
- Reform the legal immigration system to review all employment- and family-based applications fairly and efficiently;
- End the massive incarceration of immigrants by overhauling the detention system;
- Guarantee legal assistance and counsel for those facing deportation;
- Ensure all forms of immigration enforcement operating at the border and interior are done in a fair, humane, and prioritized manner;
- Restore all forms of asylum and humanitarian protection.
FULL DOCUMENT: A Vision for America as a Welcoming Nation: AILA Recommendations for the Future of Immigration: https://www.aila.org/infonet/a-vision-for-america-as-a-welcoming-nation