Black History Month and the U.S Immigration System

This Black History Month, we’re reflecting on the ways our immigration system targets Black immigrants and uplifting the important work that Black-led immigrant organizations are doing to lead the fight for justice. Just yesterday, UndocuBlack Network and Haitian Bridge Alliance decried an ICE deportation flight to Haiti—a flight that followed a January 28 deportation flight to Jamaica. As they explain, the flights are “the latest in a long history of intentional abuses by immigration authorities against Black women, children and families who seek safety and security in the United States.”

Among this recent history:

· The Muslim/African bans, which categorically excluded people from the U.S. just because of their national origin, tearing apart families.

· The deportation of Cameroonian, Angolan, and Congolese asylum seekers with pending claims back to harm with assault and coercion. · The sabotage of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Program, which provided humanitarian protection for Liberian nationals because of environmental disasters and armed conflict in Liberia. · Disproportionately high bonds for Haitian immigrants in detention. · The halt on diversity visas, which is a major pathway to legal immigration for many African people. As Black Alliance for Just Immigration explains, because of “racial discrimination, over-policing of Black communities, and invisibility within the public consciousness,” Black immigrants also face particularly difficult and distinct issues in our immigration system. Black immigrants are more likely to be detained for criminal convictions than the immigrant population overall, and are much more likely than nationals from other regions to be deported due to a critical conviction.

To be clear: anti-Blackness in our immigration system is not a unique feature of Trump policy. Anti-Blackness and racism have pervaded our immigration system throughout its history.

The initial moves that the Biden Administration has made to reverse the Muslim/African bans and reinstate protections for Liberians were the direct result of organizing and advocacy led by Black-immigrant organizations. The most important thing you can do is to resource those organizations with your money and time.

Looking for a place to start? Check out:

· African Career, Education, and Resource, Inc.

· African Communities Together

· African Diaspora for Good Governance

· Black Alliance for Just Immigration

· Black Immigrant Collective

· Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project

· Cameroonian American Council

· Haitian Bridge Alliance

· UndocuBlack Network

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