February 23, 2021

Statement on DHS Memo on Enforcement and Removals

On February 19, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security released a memo detailing new immigration directives that give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) significant powers to detain and deport individuals at their discretion1. This memo is beyond just a step backward from the Biden Administration’s promise to halt deportations for the first 100 days in office2, but rather secedes more authority to ICE. This memo has been met with widespread criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union3, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education4, American Immigration Council5, and the National Immigrant Justice Center6.

Since the formation of ICE in 2003 it has been an immoral7, despotic8, unjust9, and punitive10 organization which has no place in a society that values life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. The Biden Administration partly knows this, which is why they originally called for the 100 day moratorium on deportations to take time and review the poor policies of ICE and other immigration regulatory bodies. Activate:Chi stands by the belief ICE should be abolished. This memo, along with recent actions deporting hundreds of Black and Brown Immigrants into dangerous situations11, poses the Biden Administration in the direction to regress back to the harmful immigration policies of the Obama Administration and gives power to a rogue and unethical federal agency to cause mass harm.

We reject any and all steps backwards when it comes to respecting the dignity and humanity of immigrants. The truth of the matter is the 1,064 Trump Immigration Policies12 put in place by Stephen Miller and his team of xenophobes are a convoluted, tangled mess that simply cannot be reformed or dismantled through traditional methods13. The only solution is to raze the current immigration policies and build a new system based around human dignity. You only need to look at the quote on the Statue of Liberty to see the foundation:

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Please reach out to your elected officials and tell them these actions by the Biden Administration and the DHS are not acceptable and that a humane immigration policy is necessary in this country. Even a single voicemail expressing your concern is enough to make sure our representatives know we are paying attention and will not stand for any regressive policy. Below is the contact information for the Illinois Senators as well as the Congressional Representatives for the Chicago Area. Call your representative and make your voice heard!

Illinois representatives' contact info


  1. lawandcrime.com
  2. dhs.gov
  3. aclu.org
  4. twitter.com/RAICESTEXAS
  5. immigrationimpact.com
  6. immigrantjustice.org
  7. aclu.org
  8. nilc.org
  9. theappeal.org
  10. law.ox.ac.uk
  11. washingtonpost.com
  12. immpolicytracking.org
  13. newyorker.com