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For Immediate Release

UWD Staff

Update: DHS Cancels ICE’s Trump-era ‘Veto Power’ Agreement Following Demands from Immigrant Youth

The Biden administration had until February 17 to cancel an agreement that would give undo power to ICE’s Union.
Contact: José Alonso Muñoz | jose@unitedwedream.org | 202.810.0746

Washington, D.C. – Today, immigrant youth are acknowledging an organizing win as the Department of Homeland Security announced it is cancelling a Trump-era agreement with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union. 

Earlier today, United We Dream, NILC, DWN, Immigration Hub and DailyKos sent a letter signed by over 100 other organizations calling on DHS Secretary Mayorkas to cancel the agreement. In addition to the letter, United We Dream led a joint petition with the Detention Watch Network last week urging DHS to end the agreement, which would have given the union veto and approval power on policy changes made by DHS. 

Please see below for our original statement on the agreement sent out last week: 

Washington, D.C. On the final day of the Trump administration, vehement racist and former acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli wrongfully signed an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) union giving the Trump-endorsing union approval power on policy changes among other unprecedented benefits. This agreement essentially gives the ICE union veto power over decisions made by DHS. The Department has until February 17 to dissolve the agreement.

United We Dream and Detention Watch Network started a petition calling on DHS Secretary Mayorkas to reject and cancel this Trump-era agreement and deny ICE the veto power to carry out their atrocities as they wish.  

Cynthia Garcia, National Campaign Manager for Community Protection of United We Dream, said:

“Since the Biden administration has taken office, ICE has doubled down on the cruelty of deportations. ICE has deported hundreds of Black immigrants to countries including Cameroon, Haiti and Jamaica.This includes over two dozen children being deported to Haiti. Giving ICE any more power by allowing this last minute agreement with their union stand would only further harm immigrants. DHS Secretary Mayorkas, who unlike former Acting Deputy Secretary Cuccinelli was never confirmed, has the power to end this last minute power grab by ICE.  

Let’s stop pretending that ICE is acting outside of the bounds of what they were designed to do. It’s insulting to pretend ICE is an agency that can be reformed, or an agency that is just needing a new direction to be reigned in. ICE is operating as it was intended to, and that’s why we believe ICE should be abolished. If the Biden administration is serious about undoing the cruelty of the Trump Administration and protecting our immigrant communities, they must reject this agreement and also move swiftly to stop deportations. In addition to working with Congress to pass permanent protections for immigrants that help people without hurting people, like The Dream and Promise Act, the Farm Workforce Modernization, and other legislation to protect the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.” 


United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation; made up of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic network of 1.2 million members, over 100 local groups, and a reach of over 5 million per month. UWD’s vision is to push for just policies that allow everyone to thrive regardless of immigration status. United We Dream is fighting for a multi-racial democracy that works for everyone by building a movement of young people who organize and advocate for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color. You can find more at www.unitedwedream.org.