FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   January 19, 2022
Though President Biden has introduced legislation and changed rules around the edges, we denounce the continuation of President Trump's most egregious policies and the lack of progress toward legalization
LOS ANGELES -- As we mark the first year of the Biden-Harris administration, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) notes that when it comes to immigration reform, the soaring rhetoric with which President Joe Biden came to the White House remains mostly an unrealized promise.

Yes, the border wall is a memory. Yes, the yearly number of refugees allowed into the country has returned to something like normal levels (125,000) even though the infrastructure is not there at the moment to meet that goal. Yes, ICE agents are again operating under a priority system that limits their jurisdiction, including near courthouses and over pregnant women. But Trump-era policies that left the asylum system completely gutted, like Remain in Mexico and Title 42, are still in place, and in some cases they have expanded.

The muscular promise of a path to citizenship remains elusive, even though Mr. Biden submitted a bill on Day One granting it for most of the 11 million undocumented people in this country. We know the obstacles are many, but we still look to this administration to make it a reality.

It is true that, on taking office, President Biden immediately rescinded the disastrous, ill-named Migrant Protection Protocols (Remain-in-Mexico) that relegated asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to filthy, dangerous, makeshift camps and chaotic rules. A judge forced this administration to reinstate it, but surely there was room to narrow it, rather than expand the number of ports of entry where it applies?

It is true that the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and its rise in this country, has posed a real challenge at border ports of entry, but surely there was no reason for blanket Title 42 denials of asylum, and daily deportation flights, for Haitian refugees who face chaos in their home country, ravaged as it is by natural and man-made disasters? We still look to President Biden and VP Kamala Harris, a year into their administration, to do more for the immigrants who worked so hard and so faithfully to bring them to office while also shoring up the country during the pandemic.

Please attribute the following statements to Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
"A year into their charge, we still believe in the promise that President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris brought to a White House so tarnished by their predecessors. We hold them to a high standard because they asked immigrant communities and Latinos to believe in them. We expect Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris to do more, much more, to convince their fellow Democrats to pass a citizenship bill.

"We have marched, tweeted, livestreamed and lobbied hard to find a way, and we pushed for an update to the registry to be included in the #BuildBackBetter infrastructure bill. The Senate parliamentarian has said no to us time and again. But we know she does not represent the last word on this. We know Vice President Harris can disregard those rulings and we expect her to do so. If she fights for this, we know we will win.

"This administration is only just beginning to fulfill its promise. We know President Biden and Vice President Harris can do a lot more to get us to YES on citizenship. They have not exhausted their options. We expect them to deliver."