Florence Project Denounces the Biden Administration’s Plan to Increase Criminal Prosecutions at the Border

In another decision prioritizing enforcement and deterrence measures at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration announced today that it will increase criminal prosecutions of migrants for immigration violations, as part of a broader effort to disrupt human smuggling operations. Prosecutions for immigration violations were born out of racist policy, are racist in application, result in family separation, and like other deterrence and enforcement policies, are not effective in managing migration at the border. In response, Florence Project Legal Director Laura St. John said:  

“This is the latest announcement in a disturbing trend of reliance on deterrence and enforcement measures to manage migration by the Biden administration. Criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses are racist in their origin and application. Despite promising on the campaign trail to restore humanity to our migration system, President Biden and his administration are once again returning to policies that do the opposite. Increasing criminal prosecutions at the border will restrict access to asylum, increase the number of people who are subject to immigration detention, and increase family separations.  

“Furthermore, the Biden administration is choosing to increase prosecutions in the midst of implementing severe restrictions to asylum at ports of entry and while they are rumored to be considering even further restrictions. They are making it nearly impossible for people seeking asylum to access protection and with each announcement putting more lives in danger. Instead of doubling down on cruel, inhumane, and ineffective policies, the administration should be investing in and resourcing solutions that center the humanity of migrants and welcome all people seeking to migrate to the U.S. with dignity, including increasing processing at ports of entry and funding safe humanitarian reception sites.”