On March 11, 2022, the anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, the Center for Constitutional Rights sent a letter to President Biden outlining key policy priorities and demands. The letter urges the president to utilize discretionary power held by the Executive under existing law to take significant action to implement bold, rights-based transformative policies that meet the urgent moment of today.
March 11, 2022
Sent via email
Dear President Biden:
I write on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights to urge you to use all available means to enact and implement policies in the coming months that prioritize the needs of the most marginalized members of our community, delivering the public resources, protection, and support they deserve.
Thanks to the leadership of Black women and the power of social movements, Democrats have enjoyed nominal control of Congress and the presidency for the first time in over a decade. One year ago today, you signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law delivering much-needed short-term relief to individuals, families, and communities.
However, the one-year period since can be characterized by long periods of stasis where the apparent policy-making strategy has been to chase nominal unity by compromising with devout obstructionists rather than to take bold action to deliver and implement policies that people need to thrive. The result has been the implicit acceptance of de facto minority rule at the expense of rights-based, people-first policy.
The current political moment has generated innumerable threats to marginalized, minoritized, and criminalized communities. Black, Indigenous and Brown people, religious minorities, especially Muslims, LGBTQIA+ people, and immigrant communities continue to be relentlessly targeted by the administrative state. Prioritizing rights-based policies will help us confront and emerge from multiple ongoing crises stronger, healthier, and as a more just community in what is a pivotal year.
Existing laws provide you with considerable discretionary power to achieve effective change without abusing executive authority. While historically the first year of a presidency has been the most impactful, I implore you to take significant action in the coming weeks and months to outline and implement bold, rights-based transformative policies that meet the urgent moment of today, including acting to:
End indefinite detention by releasing all people held in immigrant detention centers and at Guantánamo, and close Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.
Conduct a holistic review of the disparate treatment of Black migrants throughout the immigration system, make available to the public the results of this review, and take steps to remedy disparities at each step of the immigration enforcement process.
End the use of Title 42 expulsions and anti-Black immigration policies, pursue restorative immigration policies rooted in human rights and human dignity, immediately designate Cameroon for temporary protected status under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and extend temporary protected status for Haiti.
Fully embrace international accountability institutions by respecting and offering consistent support for ongoing justice and accountability efforts regardless of the affiliation of any alleged perpetrators, and refrain from actions that undercut the independence of the International Criminal Court, including the Office of the Prosecutor.
Refrain from actions that criminalize dissent and infringe on First Amendment protected activities, including: ending prosecutions of journalists under the notoriously repressive and unlimited Espionage Act, ending efforts that disrupt and repress Black-led organizing, such as prosecutions and enhanced punishments against racial justice protestors, and not supporting anti-boycott legislation that would suppress the right to call for boycotts for human rights.
Take coherent and comprehensive action to eliminate endless war, torture, surveillance, and discriminatory and racist policing, including investing in community safety as outlined in H.R. 4194, the People’s Response Act.
Protect the political participation of marginalized communities by comprehensively implementing the Executive Order on Promoting Voting Access to ensure unfettered access to the ballot and that the federal government is actively involved in providing voter registration services.
Immediately prioritize climate justice and take significant action to mobilize every aspect of U.S. society toward a future of a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, by centering the needs of the most marginalized and guaranteeing the human right to food, housing, health care, education, and a living wage.
Immediately cancel all student loan debt as a step toward economic and racial justice.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of our above policy priorities. Attached please also find our living policy agenda: Shifting Power to the People, which outlines the broad range of federal policy demands that we have described as necessary steps toward repair, safety, and collective liberation. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with the appropriate staff to discuss these issues at your earliest convenience.
CC: Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement