Say it loud, say it clear...
Immigrants are welcome here!

[January 5th, 2023] Earlier today, President Biden delivered remarks on what has been termed “carrot and stick” deterrence measures to discourage migration to the United States. The new strategy relies on upholding and expanding the racist, inhumane expulsion provisions of Title 42, a Trump Administration policy that effectively shut down legal paths to asylum. The new measures also privilege migrants who already have economic ties to the U.S., increase e-surveillance and biometric data collection, and punish those who attempt to cross again after having been denied asylum.

As a coalition dedicated to the protection and empowerment of immigrants, we denounce the President’s plan to restrict legal pathways to migration.

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By creating more restrictive immigration policies, people who migrate are left vulnerable to trafficking, smuggler exploitation, and threats on their lives – including retaliation and violence from border patrol. President Biden warned migrants to not “just show up at the border” and take a legal path instead, but this statement ignores the fact that current immigration policy makes the path of legal immigration a costly, arduous, and prohibitive process.

Time and again, Presidents and Congress have failed to deliver comprehensive immigration reform. Even piecemeal reform attempts like the Afghan Adjustment Act, Adoptee Citizenship Act, and permanent protections for DACA recipients and farmworkers have failed, while funding for enforcement, surveillance, and immigration detention have increased.

"The Statue of Liberty, who stands on New Jersey’s shores, reminds us that during our nation’s golden age of immigration, 'legal' pathways often did not require any paperwork, documentation, or financial sponsors," said Amy Torres, Executive Director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. "Today, the rising number of deaths and human rights violations at the Southern border stand in stark contrast. These tragedies are not due to a change in migration patterns. They are a direct result of the elimination of safe, legal routes to migrate."

By normalizing the most dangerous of the Trump-era migration policies, today’s announcement marks a dark turn in federal immigration and border discussions. Restrictive measures do not stop migration, they only make the pathway more deadly. Success at the border should not be measured in how many people are expelled or turned away, but rather in how many we are able to welcome in.

NJAIJ stands united to welcome migrants with dignity, respect, and safety. We will continue to fight for state policies that allow immigrants, regardless of status, to thrive.