WHAT IS THE
The New Way Forward Act was introduced in Congress by U.S. Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Greg Casar (TX-35).
The bill rolls back harmful immigration laws that, for decades, have led to racial profiling and disproportionately resulted in the incarceration, deportation, and destruction of families of color and immigrant communities.
THE NEW WAY FORWARD ACT WOULD:
End mandatory detention. Reduce mass incarceration by ending mandatory detention and banning for-profit immigration jails.
Restore judicial discretion and end summary deportations. Allow immigration judges to consider a person’s individual circumstances during deportation proceedings, allowing more people to remain with their families and move forward with their lives without fear that an old offense could lead to deportation.
Limit the criminal legal system to deportation pipeline. Allow independent federal judges to review certain decisions of immigration judges that the 1996 laws unfairly tried to remove from judicial oversight.
Decriminalize migration. End federal prison sentences and criminal prosecutions for people who cross the border seeking freedom, safety, opportunity, or to reunite with their families.
Implement a five year statute of limitations for removal. Advance racial justice and address obstacles to equal justice in the criminal legal system by limiting deportation for drug convictions and other offenses that result from enforcement that disproportionately targets communities of color.
End entanglement between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement. Protect communities and local resources by ending the harmful practice of local police acting as deportation agents or carrying out mass deportations with ICE.
Create an opportunity to come home for people previously deported. Allow people previously ordered deported to apply for the opportunity to come home.
In 1996, President Clinton signed two anti-immigrant bills into law that fundamentally changed the immigration system in the United States. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) further entrenched mass incarceration and laid the blueprint for the deportation machine we have today.
As a result, Black and Brown immigrants arrested or convicted in the unjust and racially biased criminal system then face the further threat of detention and deportation. According to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Only 7% of non-citizens in the U.S. are Black, but Black immigrants make up 20% of people facing deportation on “criminal” grounds.
In response to the 1996 immigration laws, a diverse group of grassroots and national organizations launched the #Fix96 campaign. Since then, the efforts to fight back against immigrant criminalization and finally repeal the ‘96 laws has spread across the country. Now, the New Way Forward campaign seeks to repair the harm created by these unjust laws and pave a roadmap to creating an immigration system that does not rely on incarceration, detention or deportation.
The New Way Forward Act coalition includes American Civil Liberties Union, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense Project, Immigrant Justice Network, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Just Futures Law, Mijente, National Immigration Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, The Leadership Conference, UndocuBlack Network, and United We Dream.
New Way Forward Act
View the official bill text for HR 2374, the New Way Forward Act, introduced in the 118th Congress (2021-2022).
New Way Forward Backgrounder
This backgrounder explains how these laws work, the devastation they have caused, and what we can do—illustrated by stories of three people who have lived it.
New Way Forward Section-by-Section
This handout breaks down the New Way Forward Act section-by-section.
New Way Forward Digital Toolkit
New Way Forward provides a bold vision of what our immigration system should look like: one that advances our values of compassion and respect for everyone’s rights instead of mass criminalization, detention or deportation.
IJN Platform for Immigrant Justice
The Immigrant Justice Network (IJN) and our partner organizations call on President Biden to take strong action on behalf of all immigrants. Immigration policies cannot rely on outcomes from a criminal legal system that is fundamentally unjust, racialized, and built to target Black and Brown people.