Biden and Immigration: How to Push the Administration on Immigrant Rights

January 14, 2021
Teen Vogue

...Below are some actionable steps we can take to advance immigrant rights and push back against unjust policies: 

1. In order to save ourselves from repeating past mistakes or accepting the current status quo, let’s work towards a future rooted in collective understanding of how we got here. 

We have to remember that before the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002, there were no immigration police roaming the streets. The detention and deportation structure was not as built up as it is today. In other words, the calls to “abolish ICE,” or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seem less radical when you remember that this agency didn’t even exist 20 years ago. Since its creation, ICE and its surveillance infrastructure have grown exponentially. The agency is now able to easily disappear immigrants from their homes, communities, and workplaces because of the terrible immigration laws passed in 1996. These laws criminalized immigrants by expanding the types of crimes for which immigrants could be deported, and made detention and deportation mandatory in many cases — laying the foundation for the current legal regime and enabling mass detention and deportation. The 1996 laws paved the way for the current infrastructure of immigration policing, detention, and deportation.


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Last modified 

January 14, 2021