25 Years of IIRIRA: A Horrible Legacy of White Supremacist and Deeply Xenophobic Immigration Law

September 30, 2021
Fernanda Durand | (214) 402-0186 | [email protected]
Nancy Treviño | (786) 201-8958 | [email protected] 



The following is a joint statement from Alianza Americas and Presente.org in response to the 25 year anniversary of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA): 



“Twenty-five years ago, on September 30, 1996, former President Clinton signed into law the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). Over the last quarter century, this racist immigration law has fueled the mass detention and deportation apparatus that has ripped millions of families apart, leaving countless communities devastated. Sadly all these years later, Congress has failed to change course and to adopt immigration policies reflective of the vastly positive role immigrants have played in the U.S. Regretfully, IIRIRA institutionalized the view of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees as a threat to the nation. The way we treat them, to this day, continues to be consistent with this outdated and inhumane legislation. As organizations committed to creating an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for migrant communities living in the United States and across the Americas, we’ll continue organizing to ensure legislators once and for all leave behind the profoundly racist and xenophobic immigration laws now in place,” said Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas



“25 years ago, one of the worst laws you’ve probably never heard of, IIRIRA, calcified an immigration system based on punishment, restriction, and exclusion.This draconian law has severely curtailed due process for immigrants, supercharged deportations, and has allowed local law enforcement agencies to serve as immigration agents. Laws rooted in white supremacy have no place in our government,” said Matt Nelson, executive director of Presente.org. “Immigrant communities continue to make countless contributions to our country and our immigration laws should reflect our values of inclusion, freedom, and belonging. It’s past time for IIRIRA to have been repealed, and for Congress to have passed a new generation of immigration policies deeply anchored on the vastly positive economic, social, cultural, and political impact immigrant communities have had in the U.S., as well as in their countries of origin. It is our duty to protect peoples’ freedoms and human rights. And when we deny families that freedom, we’re threatening freedom itself.” concluded Nelson.




Alianza Americas is a network of migrant-led organizations working in the United States and transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.


Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group — and the nation’s premier Latinx digital organizing hub — advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture. Presente.org’s mission is to advance Latinx power and create winning campaigns that amplify Latinx voices; expand the political imagination and traditional boundaries; and foster inspiration for freedom, equity, and justice.

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