Representatives García, Pressley, Jayapal and Bass Introduce the New Way Forward Act to Fight the Criminalization of Immigrants

December 10, 2019
Press Release
“It’s time to end the criminalization of immigration”

Washington, D.C. - Today, Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Karen Bass (CA-37), and 30 Members of Congress, alongside over 145 advocacy organizations and community representatives, introduced the New Way Forward Act, a landmark piece of legislation to restore due process to the immigration system and disrupt the prison to deportation pipeline. The bill corrects racial and anti-immigrant injustices embedded in our immigration laws, many of which have enabled the Trump Administration’s inhumane assault on non-citizens in the United States and at our southern border. 

You can find background on the bill here

Additionally, you can find a section-by section document of the bill here

“Too many families in Chicago and around the country have been torn apart by cruel immigration policies.” Rep. García said. “Imagine living with the constant fear of being detained anywhere and deported at any time simply because you fled violence and sought refuge in the U.S. We must end the labels of the ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ immigrant used to dehumanize and divide communities. An attack on one community is an affront to us all. I am proud to introduce the New Way Forward Act to disrupt the prison to deportation pipeline, give all immigrants the dignity of due process, and ensure America remains a nation that welcomes all.”

 “For those of us living in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, a district that is over 30% immigrant, we know firsthand that the cruel and xenophobic policies coming out of this White House have destabilized families and stoked fear in immigrant communities far beyond the Southern border,” said Rep. Pressley. “Our immigration and criminal injustice systems are deeply and fundamentally intertwined—and have contributed to our nation’s mass incarceration crisis. I am immensely proud to cosponsor the New Way Forward Act – bold legislation that actualizes the values we espouse by keeping families together, advancing racial justice, and protecting due process for everyone, including immigrants.”

 “Our current system of treating immigrants as disposable, unredeemable and subject to deportation after they have completed their sentences did not begin with President Trump. Entire generations of new Americans know the criminal legal and immigration systems are plagued with biased policing, overzealous detention and surveillance policies, and high incarceration rates,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. “As one of 14 naturalized citizens in Congress, I am proud to co-lead the New Way Forward Act, which aims to restore due process for immigrants by ending detention without bail, separating local policing from immigration enforcement, and repealing laws that make migration a crime. New Americans deserve the same rights and dignity as native-born Americans -- a chance to make their own American dream a reality and contribute meaningfully to their communities without fear.”

 “I’m proud to support this bill to push back on mass incarceration by ending mandatory immigration detention and banning for-profit immigration jails,” said Rep. Karen Bass. “The New Way Forward Act helps restore the fundamental principles of due process in our immigration system, which has been cruel and imbalanced. Thank you to my colleagues for leading this important effort.”

For too long, unjust, anti-immigrant laws including racialized laws dating back to the 1920s criminalizing migration and the 1996 laws that entangle our civil immigration system with our broken criminal legal system have led to overly harsh punishments and the mass criminalization of immigrants. These laws have resulted in mass incarceration and deportations, separation of families, stripping people of due process and exacerbating racial animus in both our immigration and criminal legal systems. The New Way Forward Act recognizes that all our communities deserve dignity, restoration and repair, not further criminalization.

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