Immigrant Rights Activists Hold National Day of Action Demanding the Biden Administration Shut Down Detention Centers, End Deportations and Release All People in Immigration Detention

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Washington, DC — Today, Detention Watch Network, FIRM Action, Mijente, United We Dream and the We Are Home campaign coordinated a “Communities Not Cages'' National Day of Action with 25 actions taking place across the country hosted by local partners, including a press conference and rally in Washington, DC (watch the livestream here). Advocates called on the administration to take immediate action to shut down immigration detention centers, release all people from detention and stop deportations. These demands are increasingly urgent as the Biden administration carries out anti-Black racism towards Haitain migrants including mass deportation flights, violent and inhumane treatment by Border Patrol that has outraged the nation, and the latest shocking development, seeking a private contractor to operate a detention facility at Guantánamo Bay 

The Biden administration is clearly failing to live up to its promises of a more just and humane immigration system. The number of people in detention has increased at an alarming rate since the start of the Biden administration, nearly doubling in mid-July. Furthermore, the Biden Administration shamefully continues to defend the Trump-era Title 42 deportations, doubling down on racist and anti-Black border enforcement that is disproportionately impacting Haitian migrants. As people across the country unite for affirmative relief and a clear pathway to citizenship for all, the Communities Not Cages National Day of Action calls for urgent action to demand an end to deportation, the closure of all detention centers and the release of all people in immigration detention. 

Marcela Hernandez, Organizing Director for Detention Watch Network, said:

“The Biden administration is setting a dangerous precedent for what’s to come throughout the next four years. There is a troubling pattern of expansion emerging under the Biden administration with ICE seeking to expand current detention facilities in Moshannon Valley, Pennsylvania, Brazil County, Indiana and El Paso Processing Center in Texas and convert the shuttered Berks Family Detention Center into an adult facility. We denounce the administration’s continued reliance on a fundamentally flawed and fatal immigration detention system. The solicitation by DHS to use Guantánamo Bay for migrants despite the resounding and decades-long call to shut it down is appalling —  the administration’s treatment of immigrants, particularly Haitian asylum seekers, is unconscionable and anti-Black.  This is yet another example of how Biden is failing immigrant communities. Today’s actions send a clear message to the administration and demonstrate the national consensus to end immigration detention.”

Bridgette Gomez, We Are Home Campaign Director, said:

“For decades immigrant communities have suffered the destructive and cruel practices of ICE detention and deportation. Today, we join allies to say no more separated families, no more deportation flights, and certainly no more profiting from the vulnerability, pain and suffering of immigrant communities. We also remind the Biden-Harris administration that we are and will hold them accountable to their promises on the campaign trail.  We need a clear pathway to citizenship, protections for immigrant families, and a fair and humane immigration system that keeps our families and communities together and thriving.” 

Cynthia Garcia, National Campaigns Manager for Community Protection of United We Dream, said:

“President Biden once said he believes the government’s budget is a reflection of its values. It is deeply contradictory for the Biden administration to say it values immigrants on the one hand, while continuing to invest billions of dollars into an enforcement machine built to harm our communities on the other. Under Biden’s watch, tens of thousands of community members nationwide continue to be arrested, detained, and put on a path to deportation. Hector, who United We Dream has been fighting to get released from the Krome facility in Florida, is one of thousands of people separated from his family and forced to stay in a deadly detention center rife with abuse. The Biden administration has a responsibility and the means to build a humane immigration system. Stating their values is not enough. The Biden administration can and must defund ICE and CBP and prove they’re willing to stand behind their word.”

Marisa Franco, Director of Mijente, said:

"Make no mistake: we may have a new president in the White House, but the U.S. deportation machine is still operating at full speed. As long as immigration is criminalized, and the Department of Justice continues to enforce a cruel system whose sole purpose is to target, harass, and criminalize those seeking to enter this country, our communities will remain under attack. As long as there is ICE, immigrants will not be safe or free. It is past time for the Biden administration to live up to its promises to put a moratorium on deportations and break up ICE, so that no family has to live in terror of losing their loved ones." 

  • WATCH the livestream of the DC press conference and rally here
  • FIND a complete list of actions occurring across the country here


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition building power through collective advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications to abolish immigration detention in the United States. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level. Visit Follow on Twitter @DetentionWatch.

We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.