For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Thursday, January 20, 2022
Contact: Viridiana Vidal,

NDLON: Ni Un Paso Atrás / Not One Step Backward

Los Angeles, CA – In response to an unexpected statement from DHS Secretary Mayorkas calling upon local police to collaborate with immigration enforcement agents, Chris Newman issued the following statement on behalf of NDLON:

“It makes no sense for the Biden Administration to enlist local jurisdictions to amplify the enforcement of unjust laws that it acknowledges are the cause of profound pain and hardship. Secretary Mayorkas knows full-well the dangers of devolved immigration enforcement, and he is equally aware that ICE continues to operate as a rogue law enforcement agency; and so it is deeply disturbing that he would use the occasion of the US Conference of Mayors to make a false and disingenuous argument about public safety to conscript police enforcement.

“His predecessor did the same thing to disastrous results. In her first major address on immigration, Secretary Napolitano also promised prioritized enforcement while at one and the same time conjuring frankly racist and imaginary threats of criminal conduct by immigrants. What followed was 400,000 deportations per year, the criminalization of immigrants, the failure of comprehensive reform, and the Trumpification of our politics. In response, local communities organized in self defense. And while the resulting policies undoubtedly embarrassed the Obama Administration, they succeeded in advancing public safety, defending civil rights, and protecting immigrants.

“Secretary Mayorkas is aware of this history. In 2015, while Deputy Secretary at DHS, he was tasked with implementing the Priority Enforcement Program in effort to quash the revolt by sanctuary jurisdictions against President Obama’s catastrophic SCOMM deportation policy. He failed then. And thank goodness he did. Those very same sanctuary policies that repudiated the Arpaiofication of local law enforcement held firm and protected hundreds of thousands of immigrants during the Trump years.

“Presumably it was precisely because of this history that Secretary Mayorkas issued his enforcement priorities memo which he touted in his speech today. But in addition to being fleeting and insufficient to ensure compliance by recalcitrant ICE agents, any affirmative goals contained within that memo will be undermined by relinquishing discretion- and imposing dilemmas- onto local jurisdictions. Texas proves this point. Moreover, any efforts by the Biden Administration to undermine local progress will be met with fierce and divisive opposition, particularly as Congress fails again to reform federal immigration laws.

“What is alarming is that Secretary Mayorkas knows all of this. Rather than trying to revive failed policies of the past, Secretary Mayorkas should do three things: First, he should end the 287g program. Second, he should take aggressive steps to substantially reform ICE. And third, he should pledge to stay out of local politics. Anything less will delegitimize and further imperil President Biden’s already stalled immigration reform agenda.”