By: Joe Kuhn
Mondaire Jones (D-NY) is taking a stand against our nations current immigration system. On Monday Jones, along with his fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus, sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, demanding his Department halt all deportation flights that are in defiance of President Biden’s 100-day moratorium.
Jones and his colleagues have claimed that ICE has disproportionately targeted Black asylum-seekers and immigrants for deportation, sending mass deportation flights of Black people to Haiti, Cameroon, and Ethiopia. On one of those flights was Rockland County resident Paul Pierrilus, who was unlawfully deported to Haiti, a country where he has never been.
“Allowing ICE to continue to inflict violence on our communities is a radical position,” said the congressman. “During Black History Month, in defiance of President Biden’s executive order, and only a couple of weeks after tweeting about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ICE has been targeting and deporting planes full of Black people–even to countries where they have never been. This is textbook systemic racism. We can’t just sit by while ICE blatantly ignores President Biden’s order and continues to break apart families.
“The unjust mass deportation of our Haitian neighbors in recent days is further evidence that ICE is a rogue agency that is beyond reform and will stop at nothing to continue terrorizing our communities,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. “ICE must answer for this cruel and callous action and urgently return these individuals back to the United States. It is clear that Congress and the Biden Administration must act to fundamentally rebuild an immigration system that affirms the dignity and humanity of every person in America, regardless of their immigration status.”
In the letter, members of the Congressional Black Caucus formally accuse the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency of taking “unlawful” and “unconstitutional” actions by extending the now defunct polices of the former Trump administration.
“According to the recent report of a protected federal whistleblower, on January 19, 2021, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II — then the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — signed an unlawful agreement with AFGE National ICE Council 118 (NIC 118),” Jones and his colleagues alleged.
“The terms of that agreement grant NIC 118, the union representing thousands of ICE employees, extraordinary powers to delay changes to immigration enforcement policies and practices. If the whistleblower’s report is correct, you have until February 17, 2021 to exercise your authority under 5 U.S.C. § 7114(c) to disapprove this contract, thereby preventing it from taking effect, and restore the Department’s power to set immigration enforcement policies and priorities.”
The correspondence further implores Secretary Mayorkas to establish a process by which Pierrilus and other illegally deported persons can return home. The full text of the letter can be found here.