Light Inside

November 3, 2021 Press Release


November 3, 2021


(202) 888-6169 ext. 125


Equity Forward Launches New Campaign To Shed Light Inside the U.S. Immigration and Justice Systems

Research Finds Biden Admin DHS Officials Who are Hostile to Human Rights


Today, Equity Forward launches Light Inside, a new campaign focusing on accountability and transparency at the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS). Light Inside examines how these agencies assert control over reproductive health and rights and engage in consistent and disturbing patterns of neglect, harm and abuse that cannot be attributed to a single administration or person.

Equity Forward has identified several Biden DHS appointees and contractors with histories of attacking reproductive health, LGBTQIA+ rights, immigrant rights, and/or other human rights, underscoring that the Biden Administration is not immune from these patterns of harm. 

“Equity Forward was founded as an accountability organization in reaction to the Trump Administration, with an initial focus on the Department of Health and Human Services. We are committed to the same level of scrutiny for each administration in any area of government abusing human rights, including access to reproductive health care,” said Director of Equity Forward, Molly Bangs. “If there ever were agencies to focus on regardless of who is in the White House, it would be the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Not one member of Biden’s DHS that we have researched thus far has been considered supportive of human rights issues. This is cause for great alarm.”

Equity Forward categorized two DHS appointees, and one associated federal contractor, as Red, indicating great concern. This includes two former Trump appointees who remain in their roles: 

Tae Johnson, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who has refused to act to protect transgender individuals who are detained.

Joseph V. Cuffari, DHS Inspector General, who downplayed DHS’s lack of proper medical care that killed two children and failed to publish reports on egregious DHS activity, including horrific forced sterilizations.

Additionally, while DHS Secretary Mayorkas had previously received praise from immigration advocates, he is classified as Yellow, indicating concern, due to his agency’s treatment of Haitian immigrants at the U.S./Mexico border, and his defense of Title 42 to deny entry to im/migrants before they are able to seek asylum.

DOJ has proven more promising, with several appointees garnering a Green rating, indicating a track record of support for reproductive health, human rights and LGBTQIA+ protections including Attorney General Merrick Garland, Vanita Gupta, Associate Attorney General, and Kristen Clark, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Information on Equity Forward’s classification system and how it applies ratings specific to Light Inside can be found here




More on Light Inside:

Light Inside is an online portal that provides research and investigation on the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security—specifically, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—featuring:  

  • Profiles on leading federal officials at both agencies;

  • Analysis of agency policies and their impact on reproductive, civil and human rights; and

  • Opposition research on government-subcontracted organizations, zeroing in on private prisons and detention facilities.

While this campaign has been in development since early 2021, its release comes at a time when the U.S. is expanding entry into the country for some im/migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees—while brutally denying it to others. Simultaneously, anti-abortion forces have increased their attacks on access to abortion, all having a disproportionate impact on communities of color. 




Equity Forward is an accountability organization that produces investigative research on domestic and global human rights, gender equity and sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.