Reflecting on BIN’s Development on International Migrants Day

Blog post by Amanda Jackson, BIN Steering Committee Member

 

In honor and recognition of International Migrants Day, the Black Immigration Network (BIN) is highlighting a necessary and critical element in the national dialogue on immigration—racial equity. For much of the recent immigration dialogue, black immigrants have not been a part of that conversation in constructive and meaningful ways. A necessary factor of cohesion and mutual understanding is encompassing all elements and aspects of a debate. Coming out of the October Steering Committee retreat in Chicago, Illinois spurred an initiative to thrust foreword BIN’s mission, that will be the “judge and the jury” of the inclusiveness of the immigration conversation henceforward. These efforts will consist of supporting a policy framework on immigration, reducing and hopefully ending enforcement only approaches through the use of prosecutorial discretion, an enhanced concentration on Haitian Reunification Visas, and ensuring that a global context is included in any framing of the immigration conversation.

 

My colleagues on the Steering Committee and I view today and the next year as pivotal, as we guide the development of the policy plan and move forward with a revamped structured for the launch.  Key issue areas for BIN are the common struggle among African Americans and Black immigrant communities, and the inclusion of black immigrants in both policy and practice. The main issue areas support BIN’s goals of forming a migrant rights connection, our mission and values, an opportunity for advancing a racial justice agenda, and hopefully produce a cultural shift around racial justice.

 

In moving forward with building a movement on immigration, I echo the thoughts and sentiments of the previous post by my colleagues, “If the immigrant rights movement is to overcome its internal divisions and build lasting cross-racial and cross-community alliances that wield power, it must broaden its strategic outlook and willingly grapple with the tough and complicated problems.” To effectively address this concern, together we must hone in on the seeds that sprout global migration and work to bridge the multiple understandings of imposed and self identity; form and maintain alliances for the long-overhaul not only regarding immigration dialogues, but any trans-continental conversation; and lastly, just immigration reform must identify the impact on African Americans and formalize an economy that everyone can benefit from.

 

How will the launch affect migrants? One expected outcome is better clarity supported with action of who BIN is, our mission, and vision for migrants, which we believe will help drive and reform many national conversations concerning communities that affect us. BIN has already put forth its principles for comprehensive immigration reform. With engaged communications, education and training and fundraising working groups, BIN has a mass incarceration campaign embedded in critical research on reversing the historical trend of incarceration rates. Webinars and calls will kick off the New Year to train and mobilize member organizations, along with new efforts to reach both black immigrant and African American through shared media outlets and historical alliances. Today’s launch triggers a new threshold activates action and kinship to shine the migration movement.


On International Migrants Day, Black Voices Call For Immigration Reform With Racial Equity

In recognition of International Migrants Day on December 18, 2012, the BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK, a national network of African American and black immigrant organizations announce its collaboration to uplift black voices in the immigrant rights debate. The network cites the need for an understanding of racial justice as a key principle for immigration reform and for the contemporary struggle for racial equity for all people of color.

 

The BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK (BIN) was conceived through the efforts of Oakland-based organization Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the Chicago-based Center for New Community’s Which Way Forward (WWF) Program, and American Friend Services Committee’s Third World Coalition (TWC) with particular help from their Northeast Regional offices. They began their efforts in 2009 and have now grown to involve over 20 organizations nationally and several hundred black participants in a variety of convenings and advocacy efforts over the years.

 

The observance of International Migrants Day is significant to the BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK’S analysis of how globalization has changed the political and economic landscape – in the United States of America and throughout the world. Various international policies, wars, corporate greed and environmental conditions ultimately displace millions of people and force them to migrate to other countries in order to survive.

 

The BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK recognizes that often times the same types of oppressive laws and culture that historically, and currently disenfranchises African American communities is gaining momentum and finding more fuel through its attack on immigrant communities in the United States. The coded language that is often hate-filled, coupled with anti-immigrant racial profiling laws, such as Alabama’s HB 56, and other practices encourages violence that threatens both African American communities and immigrants of color. Sadly these laws and practices do not comply with United Nations Human Rights Conventions such as those protecting the Rights of Migrants or the Convention to End all forms of Racial Discrimination.

 

In its quest for racial justice, BLACK IMMIGRATION NETWORK (BIN), has also observed that current immigration policies and practices discriminate based on race and class. This discriminatory practice adversely impact immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and other Afro-Latinos in the Americas. To this end BIN promotes the leadership of black immigrant and African American leaders in the struggle for immigrant rights to ensure that as Comprehensive Immigration Reform is being debated – black concerns are not further marginalized.

 

Trina Jackson of Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity, based in Boston, MA explains, “Our challenge as a movement is to turn the common ancestry and the common struggles of African Americans and black immigrants into concerted advocacy and a common action agenda benefiting all of our communities.”

 

The network is rapidly expanding as organizations and individuals across the nation realize that black communities care about immigration. And more importantly that black communities are always undeniably impacted by immigration. From re-framing the notion that “immigrants are stealing jobs” to educating black communities about the ways in which corporations and governments are pitting our communities against one another to weaken our power. BIN is poised to have these important educational conversations about race as well as work on policy initiatives that will benefit black communities.

 

Some of the organizations represented in BIN’s membership include the Highlander Research and Education Center, Families for Freedom, Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Priority African Network, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Casa de Maryland, Center for New Community and Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Its leadership structure includes a national steering committee and a host of working groups, including a group specifically focused on Family Reunification Visas for Haitians and a working group focused on Education and Training.

 

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) is a kinship of organizations and individuals connecting, training and building towards policy and cultural shifts for a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. BIN’s vision is that people of African descent unite for racial justice and migrant rights to achieve social, economic and political power.

 

You can learn more about the network by visiting: www.blackimmigration.net