June 1, 2020

The Immigrant Justice Network, which includes the Immigrant Defense Project, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Just Futures Law, and NIPNLG, released the following statement today:

The Immigrant Justice Network stands with Black communities across the country who are rising up to demand real justice and a profound transformation of our society and institutions.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Sean Reed, along with so many others, have laid bare a truth that all too often has gone unspoken, even in the immigrant rights movement.

Anti-blackness, white supremacy, and systemic racism permeate the entire institution of policing in this country, and virtually all others. This is not a question of a few “bad apples” or “a few bad departments,” nor is it a recent development. The roots of systemic racism in policing extend back to the era of slavery, and are part and parcel of a structure that seeks to uphold inequality and exploitation even as communities organize for justice.

Amid the outrage, grief, and pain, visionary Black-led grassroots organizations are lifting up solutions that can move us toward the transformation and healing we need. We stand with the call which leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement have posed: those of us who were willing to say #AbolishICE must be willing to say #DefundThePolice as well.

Just as we raise our voices to call for an end to the violence of ICE raids and the injustice of deaths in detention, we must with equal fervor call to reinvest our local, state, and federal resources in health, healing, housing, and good jobs. And we must stop pouring our resources into mass incarceration and a system of policing which is increasingly militarized, increasingly consumes a greater share of local resources, and which has shown itself utterly resistant to a vast array of attempted reforms. We must lift up community-centered alternatives.

The presence of DHS forces at recent protests — where violence committed by police has often gone underreported — is yet another wake up call that shows how deeply our fates are linked.

Together, through the power of true solidarity, we can transform our institutions and build a better world. We must not only proclaim loudly that #BlackLivesMatter, but we must take concrete action to make that statement a reality.