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March 29, 2023

Pressley, García, Casar Re-Introduce the New Way Forward Act

Legislation dismantles prison-to-deportation pipeline, offers blueprint to write systemic racism out of immigration laws

Bill Text (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35) and 27 Members of Congress, alongside more than 300 advocacy organizations and community leaders, reintroduced the New Way Forward Act, a landmark piece of legislation that addresses some of the most harmful provisions of immigration law that drive racist enforcement practices, expanded incarceration in immigration detention centers, and unjust deportations.

The New Way Forward Act re-envisions our nation’s severely flawed and racist immigration system. The bill restores the principles of due process and compassion to our immigration system and provides a way for individuals who were unjustly deported to have the opportunity to reunite with their families. It decouples immigration laws from the racist criminal justice system and ultimately reduces mass incarceration.

“Our immigration and criminal in-justice systems are deeply intertwined and have contributed to our nation’s shameful mass incarceration crisis that has separated families and harmed our communities for generations,” said Rep. Pressley. “We must fundamentally reimagine these racist systems that have weaponized our immigration policies against Black and brown migrants. I am proud to partner with my colleagues to reintroduce the New Way Forward Act, necessary legislation to codify compassion, dignity, fairness, and due process in our immigration laws and help us build an immigration system that centers the humanity of our immigrant neighbors.”

 “The New Way Forward Act gives us a historic opportunity to end the criminalization of our immigrant neighbors. It charts a new course for immigration in our country, away from Clinton-era immigration laws that were rooted in mass incarceration and racism towards policy rooted in justice and compassion,” said Rep. García. “Too many families in Chicago and across our country know the pain of being ripped away from loved ones who are jailed and deported. It’s time we chart a New Way Forward so that all immigrants are treated with the full dignity and respect we all deserve.”

“Caging millions of immigrant families has always been wrong, and it doesn’t even help resolve the humanitarian crisis at our border. Trump demonstrated that very clearly,” said Rep. Casar. “The New Way Forward Act is actually returning us to our nation’s roots, recognizing that when migrants come to our borders or shores, we can accept them and all be better off for it. Immigrants make our nation better, our state better, and our communities better, and I’m proud to offer this New Way Forward for a country where we truly respect immigrants.”

The New Way Forward Act:

  • Ends mandatory detention
  • Restores judicial discretion and ends certain summary deportations
  • Limits the criminal legal system-to-deportation pipeline
  • Ends racist laws used as the basis for family separation, that funnel immigrants into federal prosecution
  • Implements a five-year statute of limitations for removal based on old criminal convictions
  • Ends entanglements between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement
  • Creates an opportunity to come home for people unjustly deported

Quotes from endorsing organizations can be found here.

A copy of the New Way Forward Act can be found here.

You can find more background on the bill here.

Additionally, you can find a section-by section document of the bill here.

The New Way Forward Act is informed by Rep. Pressley’s  People’s Justice Guarantee, a bold, decarceration-focused vision to transform the American criminal legal system.

Congresswoman Pressley has been a staunch advocate for immigrants and an outspoken opponent of xenophobic immigration policies. She first introduced the New Way Forward Act in December 2019. It was reintroduced in the following Congress.

Rep. Pressley has also been an outspoken critic of the Title 42 policy, which has been weaponized to deny migrants—including Haitian and other Black migrants—their legal right to claim asylum in the United States.

In February 2022, Reps. Pressley, Judy Chu (CA-27), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) led 33 other House Democrats on a letter to CDC Director Walensky demanding answers about the agency’s justification for treating asylum seekers as a unique public health threat, how these expulsions are being coordinated, how asylum seekers being returned to dangerous situations are being cared for, and more. Days later, Rep. Pressley once again called on the Biden Administration to reverse the Title 42 Order and other anti-Black immigration policies.

Rep. Pressley has consistently called on the Department of Homeland Security to end the practice of expelling migrants under Title 42 and to employ alternative forms of humanitarian relief for detainees subject to deportation for the remainder of the pandemic.

In September, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Velázquez led 54 of their colleagues on a letter calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations to Haiti and provide humanitarian parole protections for those seeking asylum. The lawmakers’ letter followed the Administration’s resumption of deportation flights to Haiti as thousands of Haitian migrants continue to await an opportunity to make an asylum claim at the border. 

Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding answers regarding the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback and pushing to Biden Administration to end the ongoing use and weaponization of Title 42.