Washington, DC — In response to Vice President Joe Biden being declared the 46th president of the United States, Silky Shah, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network, issued the following statement:
“After four years of an administration that promoted white supremacy, xenophobia, and hate, this country has officially rejected Donald Trump. Today, we celebrate the repudiation of this disastrous presidency— tomorrow, we awaken to demand a more just society under a new administration of President-Elect Joe Biden.
“In this time of transition, it’s not enough to simply aim for an end to all of the racist policies that Trump enacted during his presidency. We must remain steadfast to dismantle the systems in this country that are rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia. That means abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and immigration detention.
“We cannot revert back to Obama-era policies that also targeted, incarcerated, and deported our family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors to devastating lengths. People navigating their immigration case should be able to do so with their families and loved ones — not behind bars in immigration detention. The system simply does not need to exist.
“We demand a new reality where no matter where someone was born or how they arrived in the United States, our government values their lives and treats them with dignity and respect. We demand a new reality where every person has the right to move and live freely, in community with their family, without fear of being separated from their loved ones or displaced from their home. We demand a new reality where our elected officials ensure that they invest our tax dollars in programs that build strong families and communities by supporting critical education, housing, green infrastructure, nutrition and health care programs. And we demand a new reality where our leaders with a mandate for change decisively move towards defunding ICE, the police and systems rooted in anti-Black racism and white supremacy.
“And as our bold vision becomes a reality, the Biden administration must follow the leadership of Black, brown and Indigenous communities. We feel optimistic for the future and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and community organizers that spurred hundreds of thousands of people to awaken to the injustice that Black, brown and Indigenious people have faced since the inception of this country. The answers to a more just and equitable society are already here, and community leaders are leading the charge and doing the work from the ground up.”
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.