A global humanitarian crisis is underway, with the largest number of people in transit since WWII. Since 2011, there has been a dramatic increase in arrivals of immigrants across the southern border, many of them Central American women with their minor children fleeing violence and economic peril. Despite being potentially eligible for a variety of relief options, immigrants have been apprehended and detained without access to legal due process, resulting in biopsychosocial impacts and trauma.
Immigrants, especially undocumented and/or child migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking. Challenges faced by immigrants of color, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized immigrant groups are often aggravated.
Nearly 1,000 policies attacking immigrants have been issued by the prior administration. These xenophobic policies are antithetical to the principles of our Constitution and must be rescinded.
The vast majority of Americans want to create an equitable way for undocumented immigrants living, working, and paying taxes in the U.S. to earn citizenship. Comprehensive immigration reform that centers human dignity, family unity, and community well-being must be a key priority for national leaders.
NASW calls on national leaders to:
- Reverse anti-immigrant policies including the Muslim ban.
- Immediately end the detention and criminalization of immigrant children and families, including an end to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.
- Implement humane alternatives to individual, family and child detention in privately run and governmental detention facilities.
- Reunify the hundreds of children who remain separated from their families due to the previous administration’s family separation policies.
- Relocate those currently detained in adult jails from congregate living facilities.
- Provide a reasonable and fair path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
- Amend the Public Charge Inadmissibility Rule.
- Create a path to permanent legal status for those immigrants who are full and contributing members of U.S. communities, raising families, paying taxes, and enriching society.
- Create a reasonable and fair path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) individuals and families.
- Elevate and respond to the concerns of Black immigrants.
- Implement comprehensive refugee resettlement programs to help integration into communities.
- Create an interagency coordinating body comprising the departments of Homeland Security (DHS), HHS, Justice (DOJ) and other departments that oversee services and polices that affect immigrants and refugees.