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SPLC Condemns the Biden Administration’s Plan to Further Criminalize Migration at the Border

WASHINGTON — Last week, the Biden Administration announced its plans to increase the prosecution of immigration-related violations at the U.S. border, presumably through increased prosecutions of unauthorized entry and re-entry under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1325 and 1326. 

In addition to criminalizing people seeking asylum, these statutory provisions have explicitly racist and anti-Mexican origins. Over the past two years, the SPLC joined a series of amicus briefs, including a brief in the case of the United States of America v. Rodrigues-Barios, explaining the racist history of these laws. 

“The decision by this administration to criminalize migrants—many of whom are fleeing harm—is deeply disturbing and misguided,” said Sarah M. Rich, senior supervising attorney, and interim senior policy counsel at the SPLC. “We have witnessed how such prosecutions can be weaponized to separate and traumatize immigrant families. Prosecuting people seeking safety in the U.S. for these immigration violations will lead to more Black and Brown people being incarcerated at the expense of immigrant families and communities.” 

“We call on the Biden administration to instead adopt a humane and welcoming immigration framework that centers our values as a nation that welcomes immigrants,” concluded Rich.