We Need a #NewWayForward Toward a More Just Future

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, SEARAC Applaud Reintroduction of  New Way Forward Act
For Immediate Release

Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice - AAJC, mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org
James Woo, Advancing Justice - Atlanta, jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org
Sangini Brahmbhatt, Advancing Justice - Chicago, sbrahmbhatt@advancingjustice-chicago.org
Elaine Sanchez Wilson, SEARAC - elaine@searac.org

We Need a #NewWayForward Toward a More Just Future

WASHINGTON, DC - Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) applaud the reintroduction of the New Way Forward Act by US House Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Greg Casar (TX-35).

The New Way Forward Act transforms the United States’ immigration enforcement system by restoring due process protections for all immigrants, including immigrants in deportation proceedings. By rejecting the inhumane and cruel policies that harm generations of our communities, our country can take a step forward in reimagining an immigration system based in dignity, compassion, and racial justice. 

Key components of the bill include:

  • Eliminating mandatory detention
  • Ending deportations based for certain convictions 
  • Restoring judicial discretion for immigration judges
  • Creating a five-year statute of limitations for deportability
  • Establishing an opportunity to come home for certain deported individuals or non-citizens in deportation proceedings

Today's bill reintroduction follows yesterday's news of a devastating and preventable tragedy in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where at least 38 migrants were killed due to a deadly fire at a detention center.

"Overhauling our country’s inhumane and racist immigration policies is long overdue,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, Acting Executive Director of SEARAC. “In spite of the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community’s arrival to America as refugees escaping war, violence, and persecution, SEAAs have only been further targeted for unjust deportations, even after they have completed their sentences. We must reject how our current laws harm generations of families and their communities, and instead, restore due process for immigrants of color and for all people. The New Way Forward Act would transform our immigration system toward compassion and humanity. SEARAC thanks Reps. Garcia, Pressley, and Casar for reintroducing this critical legislation, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure its success.”

“Our current immigration laws are unjust and disproportionately harm communities of color, including Southeast Asian American communities,” said Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations. “Exile is prohibited as a cruel and unusual punishment in our criminal legal system. And yet that is the fate that many of our community members face, even after they have served their sentences and have rebuilt their lives in the U.S. Many of our community members who fled from war and genocide now face deportation to the very countries they were forced to flee. By contrast, the New Way Forward Act would address systemic racism in our institutions and recognize the moral call to keep families together. We thank Reps. Garcia, Pressley, and Casar for recognizing that we need new ideas and new laws that acknowledge the humanity of our community members, and that we must continue to fight with them for a just immigration system.”


1. Watch and share SEARAC’s #StopSEAADeportation PSA Video Series.

In this series of deportation-focused public service announcements (PSAs), the stories of five impacted Southeast Asian American community members and their families are featured. 

The New Way Forward Act would uplift individuals like Ge and Damu who, featured in the #StopSEAADeportation PSA Video Series, share what they wish people knew about individuals facing deportation: that they are people, too, and they have families — and that communities should rise up to protect people facing deportation.

“In the back of my mind, it is always someday I will be shipped out to Laos. And it’s like a life sentence… even though I did all my time. It doesn’t matter how good or how great I do right now at this point. It’s affecting my parents, it’s affecting my kids, my wife also, so it’s very difficult for us at this point,” said Ge.

SEARAC will be highlighting our English and in-language PSAs on our Instagram channel throughout the day. To learn more about Ge, Damu, and other community members impacted by deportation, visit https://bit.ly/StopSEAADeportation.


2. Learn more about the New Way Forward Campaign.

See this backgrounder and section-by-section summary for more details about the bill. For more resources and action items, see the New Way Forward Campaign website.



3. Call on CA Governor Gavin Newsom to pardon #APSC4 members to continue building roots and serving our community.

Borey “Peejay” Ai is a Community Advocate at Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC). APSC supports impacted AAPI community members whether they’re currently incarcerated, returning home after completing their sentence or fighting deportation by advocating for incarcerated communities through education on the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline and by urging leaders to protect our communities from being separated. 

PJ is also an alumnus of SEARAC’s Leadership and Advocacy Training (LAT) program, a three-day immersive training based in Washington, DC that builds the advocacy and leadership skills of emerging Southeast Asian American (SEAA) advocates. After graduating from the LAT program, alumni like PJ go on to work across the country as advocates, organizers, service providers, and local policymakers to represent and empower local SEAA communities.

As part of the #APSC4, PJ is currently at risk for deportation, along with Maria Legarda, as well as Chanthon Bun and Nghiep “Ke” Lam, both of whom are featured in SEARAC's PSA series linked above. Upon completing their sentences, the #APSC4 team was arrested by ICE for deportation proceedings. If deported, the #APSC4 team will no longer be able to serve their impacted immigrant communities.