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Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Urges New DHS Head Alejandro Mayorkas to Take Swift and Pointed Action to Reform Immigration System

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2021

Media Contact:

Michael Givens
Associate Director of Strategic Communications
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Phone: +1-857-540-0617
Email: mgivens@uusc.org

Cambridge, MA—Today, the Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, CEO and president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, released the following statement:

“Alejandro Mayorkas has the power and expertise to drastically improve our nation’s immigration system. He has lived experience as a refugee and a child of Holocaust survivors—giving him first-hand understanding of the importance of refugee and asylum protections in this country. Secretary Mayorkas’s work at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services clearly illustrates that he believes DHS should facilitate immigration, not penalize immigrants. Importantly, at USCIS, he helped implement DACA, which helps hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States remain in the country.

But even with this strong record, Secretary Mayorkas will face enormous challenges. He will inherit the brutal internal cultures of ICE, Customs and Border Protection, and other agencies that have been used to inflict injustice on immigrant communities and asylum-seekers.

Make no mistake: While the Trump administration exacerbated these abuses, these agencies employed dehumanizing tactics long before Trump’s term. As a former member of the Obama administration, Mayorkas carries some of this harmful legacy with him into office. We hope Mayorkas’ leadership will be a repudiation not only of the Trump administration’s policies, but of prior injustices inflicted by its predecessors.

Now, we’re calling on Secretary Mayorkas to move quickly and aggressively to end family separation and family detention, remove the barriers that deny asylum-seekers their due protections, and ensure that more people are able to enter the country if they are facing humanitarian crises in their home countries.

Secretary Mayorkas has the chance to make our immigration system fairer and more humane. He must use every tool at his disposal to do so.”

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The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.

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