News Release

Biden: More Humane Cages for Immigrants?

ADRIENNE PINE, pine@american.edu@adriennepine
Pine is associate professor of anthropology at American University and co-editor of the just-published book Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry.

She just wrote the piece “More Humane Cages? Prospects for Immigration Justice Under Biden Appear Dim,” which scrutinizes new Biden appointees including “Obama’s former top immigration adviser Cecilia Muñoz to [Biden’s] transition team, who brushed off NPR interviewer Maria Hinojosa’s question about family separation, responding that ‘Some of these things are going to happen.’

“While much has been made of the gendered diversity of Biden’s transition team (including Muñoz) and potential cabinet picks, it will be little comfort to the women of Central America, or any other region subject to U.S. interference, to know that the new U.S. #GirlBosses may include Susan Rice as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton as UN ambassador, or Michele Flournoy as Secretary of Defense. [See “Biden: A War Cabinet?“]

“Many of Biden’s DHS transition team selections show his platform will differ (if at all) only in form, not in substance, from that of Trump. None of his team members hail from the ranks of BIPOC [black, Indigenous and people of color] organizers who delivered him his victories in key states like Arizona, and for whom immigration is a major issue. …

“Biden’s DHS transition team members range from billionaire-funded think tank pundits to corporate lawyers, with a smattering of left-liberal ACLU types, none of whom fundamentally question the overarching logic of border security. Take Blas Nuñez-Neto, for example, DHS transition team member and RAND analyst who accuses migrants of ‘taking advantage of incentives created by the U.S. asylum process’ and has advocated that asylum seekers be made to seek asylum from U.S. embassies while still living in their countries (a non-starter for people fleeing deadly violence) and building more private prisons to detain entire families indefinitely, as humane alternatives to family separation.”