We Need a #NewWayForward Toward a More Just Future

Pictured: Southeast Asian American community organizer Phal Sok traveled from California to DC to speak in support of the New Way Forward Act during a press conference held in front of the US Capitol on March 29, 2023. (Photo credit: Anna Hyunah Byon, SEARAC)

WASHINGTON, DC – Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) applaud the reintroduction of the New Way Forward Act by US House Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Greg Casar (TX-35).
The New Way Forward Act transforms the United States’ immigration enforcement system by restoring due process protections for all immigrants, including immigrants in deportation proceedings. By rejecting the inhumane and cruel policies that harm generations of our communities, our country can take a step forward in reimagining an immigration system based in dignity, compassion, and racial justice.
Key components of the bill include:
  • Eliminating mandatory detention
  • Ending deportations based for certain convictions
  • Restoring judicial discretion for immigration judges
  • Creating a five-year statute of limitations for deportability
  • Establishing an opportunity to come home for certain deported individuals or non-citizens in deportation proceedings
Today’s bill reintroduction follows yesterday’s news of a devastating and preventable tragedy in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where at least 38 migrants were killed due to a deadly fire at a detention center.
“Overhauling our country’s inhumane and racist immigration policies is long overdue,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, Acting Executive Director of SEARAC. “In spite of the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community’s arrival to America as refugees escaping war, violence, and persecution, SEAAs have only been further targeted for unjust deportations, even after they have completed their sentences. We must reject how our current laws harm generations of families and their communities, and instead, restore due process for immigrants of color and for all people. The New Way Forward Act would transform our immigration system toward compassion and humanity. SEARAC thanks Reps. García, Pressley, and Casar for reintroducing this critical legislation, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure its success.”
“Our current immigration laws are unjust and disproportionately harm communities of color, including Southeast Asian American communities,” said Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations. “Exile is prohibited as a cruel and unusual punishment in our criminal legal system. And yet that is the fate that many of our community members face, even after they have served their sentences and have rebuilt their lives in the U.S. Many of our community members who fled from war and genocide now face deportation to the very countries they were forced to flee. By contrast, the New Way Forward Act would address systemic racism in our institutions and recognize the moral call to keep families together. We thank Reps. García, Pressley, and Casar for recognizing that we need new ideas and new laws that acknowledge the humanity of our community members, and that we must continue to fight with them for a just immigration system.”