Biden Administration Must Protect, not Punish, Survivors
African Human Rights Coalition joins Civil and Immigrant Rights Groups to denounce racially motivated Texas Shooting
Last month, a group of people stopped for water near El Paso, Texas. They were migrating to the United States to reunite with family and seek protection. Two white men spotted the group and began shooting at them, killing one man and critically injuring a woman. For weeks, several of the surviving witnesses were detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) custody.
News reports revealed that one of the alleged assailants had previously racially and physically abused migrants as a jail warden, while the other worked in the same sheriff’s office which arrested the men.
Seventy-six organizations sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland denouncing this horrific shooting, which was fueled by dehumanizing immigration policies and white supremacist violence. The organizations call on the Biden administration to urgently heed the following recommendations:
Suspend any enforcement measures, including criminal prosecution or the removal or expulsion of these individuals
Refrain from prosecuting any survivors and witnesses in USMS custody and ensure that all survivors have prompt access to medical and mental health care from a safe location in the United States
Launch a federal investigation into these shootings to provide independent oversight and accountability given the horrors inflicted on Mr. Sepúlveda, Ms. Casias Carrillo, and other surviving witnesses
Review and investigate white supremacist rhetoric and behavior within existing detention facilities, federal immigration personnel, contractors, and collaborating law enforcement agencies
Direct ICE, USMS, Customs and Border Protection, and collaborating law enforcement agencies to issue formal guidelines for agents prohibiting association, active participation, and support for white nationalist, unauthorized paramilitary, and other extremist groups, consistent with the First Amendment, to enhance transparency and accountability and ensure appropriate discipline. Develop and enforce clear policies to investigate and take disciplinary action in response to violations.
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality African American Ministers In Action Afghan Coalition African Communities Together African Human Rights Coalition Al Otro Lado Alianza Americas America’s Voice American Gateways American Immigration Council American Immigration Lawyers Association Americans for Immigrant Justice Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center Anti-Defamation League ASISTA Immigration Assistance Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) Border Network for Human Rights El Calvario Immigrant Advocacy Center Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition Center for Constitutional Rights Center for Gender & Refugee Studies Center for Victims of Torture Church World Service Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center Cleveland Jobs with Justice Coalición de Derechos Humanos Community Asylum Seekers Project Communities United for Status & Protection (CUSP) Detention Watch Network Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. Doctors for Camp Closure DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving Freedom for Immigrants (FFI) Haitian Bridge Alliance HIAS Hispanic Federation Human Rights First Immigrant Defenders Law Center Immigration Center for Women and Children Immigration Equality Innovation Law Lab Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (IMUMI) Japanese American Citizens League Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA Justice in Motion Legal Aid Justice Center Mariposa Legal, program of COMMON Foundation Minnesota Freedom Fund National Council of Jewish Women National Immigrant Justice Center National Immigration Law Center National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Next 100 New Mexico Immigrant Law Center Oasis Legal Services Quixote Center La Raza Community Resource Center Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Southern Border Communities Coalition Southern Poverty Law Center Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice Tahirih Justice Center UndocuBlack Network UnidosUS United We Dream Washington Office on Latin America Western States Center Witness at the Border Women's Refugee Commission Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights