Connecting the Diaspora on International Migrants Day

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International Migrants Day is held annually on December 18 to recognise the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide. The Black Immigration Network (BIN) will gather in recognition of International Migrants Day  to hear from leaders in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Caribbean via teleconference.

 

As Black people around the globe experience structural racism, xenophobia, religous intolerance and the adverse impacts of globalization, connecting across the diaspora to build a movement that protects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, is key to our liberation.

 

 

 


Black Leaders Respond to Texas v. U.S. Ruling from the 5th Circuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact Tia Oso, National Organizer, BAJI
Phone: 347-410-5312  Email: info@BlackAlliance.org

 

BLACK IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS RESPOND TO 5th CIRCUIT REJECTING DEFERRED ACTION APPEAL

RENEW CALLS FOR REAL SOLUTIONS TO BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, RAISE CONCERNS OF  BLACK IMMIGRANTS

[New York, NY – November 10, 2015] On Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling blocking President Obama’s expanded deferred action measures announced in November 2014, including the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. This much anticipated decision is as expected from the conservative leaning Fifth circuit. This ruling now opens the door for the Department of Justice to appeal to the Supreme Court for a review of DAPA and DACA’s legality before President Obama leaves office.“It is definitely no surprise that the Fifth Circuit court, which has previously been hostile to immigrants,  issued a ruling in favor of 26 hostile states, against an administration that is also hostile toward millions of immigrants,” says Opal Tometi, Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter.

 

“While many immigrant rights advocates see a glimmer of hope in a favorable Supreme Court ruling, the fact remains that any decision by the court will only be a temporary fix, benefiting a tiny fraction of immigrant families that are currently suffering through the current immigration system, while increased enforcement continues to tear-apart immigrant families. Though Black immigrants are only about 10% of the foreign-born population in the U.S., they are detained and deported at five times the rate of their presence in the undocumented immigrant community. Decades-long backlogs for family visas keep loved-ones in limbo and create financial and emotional distress for millions.

 

Black immigrant families – even those eligible for relief under Obama’s quick-fixes – have yet to reap the benefits of administrative relief as black immigrants often remain overlooked and excluded from the immigration discourse. We continue to call on the Obama administration to work with Congress to end the hostility toward immigrants by providing true relief to families, and eliminating immigrant detention, local ICE collaboration programs like the Priority Enforcement Program, and mass deportations.” Tometi said.

 

BAJI and the Black Immigration Network renew our call for a fair, just and inclusive immigration system, which ensures that black immigrants are treated humanely and fairly and can bring all their contributions and talents to strengthen our culture, economy and communities.

 

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) is a national network of people and organizations serving black immigrant and African American communities who are focused on supporting fair and just immigration, as well as economic and social policies that benefit these communities and all communities of color in order to create a more just and equitable society.

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Black Lives Matter Visits Cuba

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A group of Black Lives Matter activists reflect on the lessons they learned during a recent solidarity trip to Cuba

 

By Anita, Chapter Coordinator and Community Organizer with Black Lives Matter,
Amity, the BYP100 NYC Communications Co-chair,
Shannon, organizer with NYC Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Outreach Director for 2013 documentary film Black and Cuba

 

“Venceremos, my favorite word in Spanish, crossed my mind. Ten million people had stood up to the monster. Ten million people only ninety miles away. We were here together in their land, my small little family, holding each other after so long. There was no doubt about it, our people would one day be free. The cowboys and bandits didn’t own the world.” – Assata Shakur

 

Ninety miles south of the United States is a truly different world. As Black Lives Matter activists, from various groups in the movement, who have been calling for massive structural, political and social changes in our country, we decided to see just what change can actually look like. So in late July we came together with 45 strangers to embark on a life-changing journey to visit and learn about Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade.

 

In 1969, a coalition of young people formed the Venceremos, “We Shall Overcome”, Brigade, in order to show solidarity with the Cuban revolution and challenge U.S. policies towards Cuba, including the economic blockade and our government’s ban on travel to the island. Our trip, like those that came before us, consisted of work, educational activities, and travel.

 

We were introduced to a highly educated, politically conscious and diverse society that our government has tried to keep us from for more than 50 years. We met resilient, inspirational, loving people who taught us about generosity, community, humility, and the one simple truth of socialism: that people are consistently prioritized over profit. We found that even within socialism, racial justice is a struggle that must be fought for and encouraged. While we cannot claim to be Cuban experts after one or two weeks, we did learn a great deal about ourselves and what it will mean to continue to build and win a revolutionary movement in our own country.

 

The three of us — Anita, Chapter Coordinator and Community Organizer with Black Lives Matter; Amity, the BYP100 NYC Communications Co-chair and Shannon, organizer with NYC Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Outreach Director for 2013 documentary film Black and Cuba– came with different perspectives, met and bonded over our questions and analysis of the experiences we had during the trip.

 

We found that In Cuba, people do not like to talk about race.

 

For Cuba, racial discrimination is a curse that both fled the country with the Cuban exiles and stayed behind with the revolution.

 

To be fair to the Cuban revolution, many of the Black Lives Matter movement’s “radical” demands to alleviate the effects of structural racism have been fulfilled in Cuba: all education (including higher education) is free, healthcare is free, housing is subsidized, healthy food is subsidized, and more. In 1962 the Cuban government declared the end of racial discrimination through the implementation of these egalitarian policies. In the U.S., racism is aggressive and deadly, systemic and carefully calculated. Although not fully eradicated, we found it true that Cuba’s socialist model diminishes the presence of structural racism and Cubans rightfully take pride in being more socially advanced than the U.S. in their “pursuit” for racial equality.

 

But, more than 50 years into the ongoing revolutionary project in Cuba, racial equality has still not been fully achieved and is often not addressed directly. While Cuba is an amazing example of how socialism can work to benefit the good of all people, Cuba is also proof that socialism or any tactic other than deliberately and intentionally working towards eradicating institutional and structural racism will not yield total racial equality.

 

Read the full blog HERE.


Video: Envisioning A World with Racial Justice and Migrant Rights

Envisioning A World with Racial Justice and Migrant Rights

Closing panel

Pictured- Moderator: Elandria Williams, Highlander Center with Panelists: Philip Agnew, Dream Defenders, Monica Hernandez, Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, Ruth Jeannoel, Power U, Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Jasson Perez, Black Youth Project.

 

Following three days of convening at the 2014  Black Immigration Network Kinship Assembly, these community-based movement leaders share their vision of movement building at the intersections amongst our kinship assembly. An intergenerational panel of movement leaders reflected on topics such as Youth engagement, the significance of Black-led labor movement, criminalization, immigration detention, mass incarceration and the exciting things being done to ensure workers protections and economic thriving across the nation.

View the video here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/48019728 .


Reflecting on March on Washington and Black immigrant presence in US

Post by Nunu Kidane, BIN Steering Committee, Director of Priority Africa Network 

 

 

Among the many issues of contention in this year’s debate over Comprehensive Immigration Reform, particular focus has been paid to Diversity Visa.

 

Does Diversity Visa in fact meant to “diversify” racial populations by allocating more visas to Black and Brown people? What is the history of this policy and significance to Black populations in particular? In answering these questions, my goal is to not only to state facts and set the record straight but to raise a broader issue of the moral imperative race in the current immigration debate.

 

This is particularly significant this week as we focus on the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington.  The national march on washington immigration reform debate isn’t exactly gripping the attention of Black America and is unlikely to get more than mere mention by speakers this week.  It is however gaining considerable mention from some African-American institutions and leaders.  Unlike previous years, the Congressional Black Caucus and progressive national groups like the Black Immigration Network have taken the lead to speak out on immigration through race lens. For Black immigrants and African-Americans, the immigration issue is primarily seen in two relevant areas: 1. Issue of labor and jobs and 2. Shifting demographic trends in the racial makeup of this country.

 

It is on the latter that the case of Diversity Visa is often cited.  It is claimed that presence of Black populations (particularly from Africa) would not have been possible if not for Diversity Visas.  This argument is increasingly made as a push back to recent conservative’s proposals to do away with DV in order to allocate the entry privileges to “more deserving” professionals and highly skilled foreign workers.

 

Diversity Visa is a national immigration policy introduced in the mid-1990s with 55,000 visa allocations each year to people coming from countries of “low rates of immigration to the US”.   Of the tree categories through which foreigners gain entrance to the US on “immigrant visas” Diversity visa is one; the other two are employment and family sponsorship.

 

To most readers, the word “diversity” implies mixed populations of racial and ethnic origin.  Federal immigration policies however make absolutely no reference to race or ethnicity.  The word ‘diversity’ in DV is entirely in relation to “regions of the world” (not persons of an ethnic group) with a history of “low admission” to the US.   Visa allocations from countries therefore include Europe and Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, in addition to Africa.

 

The emphasis on DV as one of the most coveted avenues for entry of Black populations in the U.S. is factually wrong.  While it does provide an opportunity for a small group of Black immigrants (amongst European and Asian) to come to the US, the figures do not make it the single most deserving issue of protection on the debate over race and immigration.

 

The majority of Africans coming to the U.S. do so by far on visitor visas, followed by visas of family sponsorships, employment and students.

 

The 2012 visa allocation for Africa:

 

Diversity Visa Visitor Visas Family Sponsorship Employment & Student Refugees
13,321 295,125 30,493 20,242 12,000

 

 

Moreover, residents of only five countries in sub Saharan Africa were recipients of the DV lottery in significant numbers that exceeded one thousand.

 

Congo Egypt Ethiopia Ghana Nigeria
1,219 2,004 1,416 1,677 1,850

 

 

The growing influence of Black voices on the current immigration debate goes beyond advocacy for a single-issue of Diversity Visa.  It is one of the many issues on the table and it does not by any means define the broad spectrum of the call for “just immigration.”

 

Black solidarity in immigration policy debate is about racial justice. Groups like the Black Immigration Network approach this through layers of history and understanding of the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-apartheid movement and current critical issues economic and social justice. This broader framework is important to understanding what immigration debate brings to progressive African Americans and Black immigrants.

 

As we advocate for maintaining DV and fight for policy changes, let us be as militant and vocal about issues of family separation. Hundreds of families are separated each day, in lengthy detentions and without due process.  Let us raise issues of increasing criminalization of immigrants in much the same way Black communities are criminalized and racially profiled.  It is about building alliances between those who call for end of mass incarceration of largely Black people to the mass detention of largely Hispanic immigrants.

 

This anniversary of The March on Washington makes us mindful more than ever, of King’s message.  It was not only about integration and racial equality; it was about the true meaning of citizenship and full rights, it was about access to jobs, fair housing and employment.  Most of all, it was about recognizing the inter-sectionality of all these issues and the inalienable right and dignity of human beings, deserving universal rights regardless of color or creed or national origin.  That is at the heart of what the Civil Rights Movement was about.