Indefensible: Immigrants Trapped by the Criminalization of the Immigration Process

Please join us as we work together to end the vilification of immigrants and the violence of detention and deportation that is causing deep harm to our communities.

Hakeem Jeffries represents the diverse Eighth Congressional District of New York, an area that encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens. Serving his fourth term in the United States Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee.

Rep. Jeffries is Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, having been elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2018. In that capacity, he is the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.  He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda.

In Congress, Rep. Jeffries has emerged as a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. He has worked hard to reform our criminal justice system, improve the economy for everyday Americans, and protect our health care from right-wing attacks.

Ray Suarez was a senior correspondent for “PBS NewsHour” and host of the public radio shows “America Abroad” and “Inside Story” on Al Jazzera America. In his more than 30-year career in the news business, he has also worked as a radio reporter in London and Rome, as a Los Angeles correspondent for CNN, and as a reporter for the NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He is currently co-host of the radio program and podcast WorldAffairs for KQED and the World Affairs Council. Along with his work in journalism, Suarez travels throughout the U.S. and worldwide for public speaking engagements.

Kristen Clarke is president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In this capacity she is a legal advocate on behalf of the rights of communities of color, especially in the areas of social justice, equal economic opportunity, criminal justice and judicial diversity, among others.

Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Clarke spent several years at the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund where she helped lead the organization’s efforts in voting rights and election law reform across the country. Before joining the LDF, she worked at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she served as a federal prosecutor, handling cases of police brutality, hate crimes, and human trafficking. Clarke is a regular contributor to a number of outlets including CNN, MSNBC and TV One as well as a 2017 recipient of Quinnipiac University’s Thurgood Marshall Award, among others.

Cornell Belcher is an American progressive pollster and political strategist who is the founder and president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies. Cornell Belcher is President of brilliant corners Research & Strategies and is one of the premier strategists in national progressive politics as well as in the rebranding of corporate America. He is a current political contributor for MSNBC. He is also a former political contributor to CNN, having provided political analysis to them for six years. Cornell served as Pollster for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under Chairman Howard Dean making him the first minority to lead in that role for either national Party. He also served on the polling team for both Obama presidential campaigns. Over the years, Cornell has worked with both Senate and House Democrats as Senior Political Advisor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in the 2002 cycle and Special Projects Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in the 2000 cycle. And Cornell served as Women VOTE! Coordinator for EMILY’s List in the 1998 cycle, helping to put together communication and GOTV operations targeting women voters all over the country.

Performer, educator, and wordsmith Abeena Koomson-Davis serves as the musical director for the Resistance Revival Chorus, a regular series of musical events that aims to bring songs to life in the spirit of collective joy and resistance. She currently serves as Ethics Chair of the middle school division at Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where she teaches ethics and social justice to middle and upper school students. Previously, Abena was an original cast member of the hit Broadway musical FELA!, which earned three Tony awards.

Twenty years ago, there was an emerging human rights crisis: the targeting of immigrants for mass imprisonment and deportation. Today, the United States operates the largest immigration policing, detention, and deportation system in the world—and it’s growing. The war on immigrants has escalated to new heights, through campaigns driven by fear, hatred, racism, and lies. Working at the intersection of racially biased U.S. criminal and immigration systems, the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) is making major strides in securing fairness and justice for immigrants in the United States. JusticeAid is excited to help, and we appreciate your support.

The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) fights for fairness and justice for all immigrants at the intersection of the systematically unjust criminal and immigration systems. IDP was founded 20 years ago to combat an emerging human rights crisis: the criminalization of immigrants targeted for mass incarceration and exile. As the ICE deportation complex has exploded, IDP has continued to confront this crisis head-on by developing deep expertise and interventions through a multi-pronged strategy.

Rooted in the principle that no one is disposable, IDP is uniquely positioned to fortify the frontline struggle through community defense, policy reform, legal support and training, impact litigation, and communications and advocacy to fight back against mass criminalization, detention, and deportation.

Natalia Renta, Co-chair
Therese Steiner, Co-chair
Sara Greenberg
MaryAnn Sung

Mark Rochon, Chair
Alejandra Almonte
Leila Babaeva
Barry Boss
Shelley Broderick
Anne DiRosa
Stephen Milliken
Heather Pinckney
Preston Pugh
Matt Reinhard
Addy Schmitt
Karen Thomas




Photo credit (banner photograph above): Protesters brave the cold on Dec. 7, 2017, to rally against a surge of immigration arrests being carried out in New York City courthouses. (AMANDA OTTAWAY, Courthouse News Service)