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The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

June 20, 2023

Re: More than 100 Organizations Urge a Centralized Process for a Chance to Come Home

Dear Secretary Mayorkas,

We the undersigned organizations respectfully request that you facilitate the returns of unjustly deported people with pending requests to return to the U.S. and establish a centralized process to provide a meaningful chance to come home for people forced to leave behind their families and communities by unjust deportations.

You have referred to family unity as a foundational principle underpinning the work of the Department of Homeland Security. Ensuring a meaningful process for deported individuals to apply to return to their loved ones would mark a long-lasting reflection of that commitment. It would also further this administration’s efforts to promote racial equity throughout government programs and policies. And for deported individuals and their loved ones it would mean everything – the chance for families and communities to be made whole after years or decades of painful separation.

Our organizations work with and on behalf of many deported individuals. Among others, some have been separated from their loved ones for years and cannot return despite strong legal arguments to reopen their immigration cases and pursue lawful status. Some remain in exile despite having received a pardon or vacatur of the criminal conviction that formed the basis for their deportation. And we work with community members who are haunted by the memory of the day their loved one was picked up in a frightening raid or home arrest under prior administrations.

Although current immigration laws have procedures that allow individuals to seek return after deportation, these mechanisms are cumbersome and often difficult or impossible to access for unrepresented individuals who are limited in resources. Further, in our experience immigration adjudicators rarely agree to exercise prosecutorial discretion to support a request to return home, even when the humanitarian circumstances present are extreme.

More than a century ago, the Supreme Court described the harsh and permanent nature of the penalty of deportation, which “may result … in loss of both property and life, or of all that makes life worth living.” Deportations destabilize families, often resulting in food and housing instability. The deportation of a parent has long-lasting, traumatic mental and physical health effects on children. The costs of deportation are borne disproportionately by Black and Brown immigrants, and institutional racial biases in the criminal legal system are amplified when deportation is imposed as a second punishment.

We therefore urge you to facilitate returns for unjustly deported people with pending requests. And, going forward, we recommend the establishment of a streamlined, centralized system to consider requests for return from people who have been wrongfully or unjustly deported. Bringing home unjustly deported people including parents, community leaders, veterans, workers, and others would advance this administration’s stated goals of family unity and racial equity while making all of our communities stronger.

With questions, please contact Nayna Gupta at the National Immigrant Justice Center at



National Organizations

Acacia Center for Justice

African Human Rights Coalition

African Immigration Initiative of the Courageous Resistance

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Cameroon Advocacy Network

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for the Study of Social Policy

Center for Victims of Torture

Church World Service

Coalition on Human Needs

Deported Asylum Seekers Assistance Project

Detention Watch Network

Drug Policy Alliance

Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project

Esperanza United (formerly Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network)

Fight for the Future

Freedom for Immigrants

Grassroots Leadership

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Hispanic Federation

Human Rights Watch

Immigration Equality

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)

Justice Action Center

Justice in Motion

Kino Border Initiative


National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Immigration Law Center 

National Immigration Litigation Alliance

National Immigration Project (NIPNLG)

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) 

National Partnership for New Americans

Oasis Legal Services 

Quixote Center

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Tahirih Justice Center

Tsuru For Solidarity

UndocuBlack Network


Washington Office on Latin America

Witness at the Border 

Women’s Refugee Commission

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights


Regional, state and local organizations

ACLU of Northern California

ACLU of Southern California

Americans for Immigrant Justice

Black and Brown United in Action

Border Network for Human Rights

Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition

Catholic Coalition for Migrant Justice

Chacon Center for Immigrant Justice at Maryland Carey Law

Cincinnati-Hamilton Co. Public Library

Cleveland Jobs with Justice

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible

Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services Inc

El Concilio Family Services

Families for Freedom

First Friends of New Jersey & New York

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Immigrant Defense Project

Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Immigrant Legal Defense

Interfaith Welcome Coalition - San Antonio

InterReligious Task Force on Central America

Jesuits West CORE AZ

Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA

La Resistencia

Lamar Unidos

Legal Aid Justice Center

Make the Road NJ

Mariposa Legal, program of COMMON Foundation

Midwest Immigration Bond Fund

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Muslim Justice League

NorCal Resist

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Oasis Legal Services

Ohio Immigrant Alliance

Organized Communities Against Deportations

Public Law Center

Rhizome Center for Migrants

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Sidewalk School

Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice

Texas Advocates for Justice

Uncage and Reunite Families Coalition

Unified US Deported Veterans Resource Center


Voces Unidas (RGV)

Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center

Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration

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