Connecting the Diaspora on International Migrants Day

IMD15-SaveDate
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.

###


A Global Movement to Stop Anti-Black Racism in the Dominican Republic

Hundreds of Dominicans of Haitian origin protest to reclaim their right to their Dominican nationality outside the National Congress in Santo Domingo

African-American and Black Immigrant Leaders Condemn the Government of Dominican Republic Ethnic Cleansing

Decry Racist Policy Denationalizing Dominicans and Children of Haitian Migrants as a violation of Human Rights



Approximately two weeks ago, an estimated 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent have been stripped of legal status due to a court decision that denationalizes generations of native and foreign-born Dominicans of Haitian ancestry. The ruling codified as Resolution 168/13 by the Dominican Republic’s Tribunal Constitution on September 23, 2013, retroactively removed the citizenship status of Dominicans of Haitian descent, rendering them stateless. This action denies these community members the required documentation to exercise basic civil rights such as: travel, work, voting, public education and housing. In essence, this ruling strips Dominicans of Haitian descent of their human rights and dignity, forcing them off their land, tearing families apart and violently deporting residents without a moment’s notice or due process.

End Apartheid banner

U.S.-based national formation the Black Immigration Network stands with the international community in condemning the Dominican Republic’s actions. The expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian Descent and Haitian migrants, regardless of immigration status, is unconscionable and wrong. The Black Immigration Network, a national organization of Black immigrants and African Americans, recognizes the racialized realities of the mass deportations and criminalization of black people as a human rights crisis. The policy is in violation of international human rights law, including the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). The practice of denationalization and deportation is a continuation of the legacy of anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and must be stopped.

 

Resolution 168/13 has enshrined and bolstered a social and political climate that puts black people in the Dominican Republic in grave danger. Xenophobic violence including public lynchings of people presumed to be of Haitian ancestry. Raids and arson has plagued this nation for years and is currently on the rise. Already, over 30,000 people have fled to neighboring Haiti, in fear for their lives and uncertain of their status and ability to return to their homes in the Dominican Republic.

 

The Black Immigration Network (BIN) stands with people of conscience around the globe, international stakeholders, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to demand the Dominican government immediately halt the removal of denationalized Dominicans and Haitian immigrants, and guarantee that individuals are not arbitrarily, unjustly, and permanently deprived of their civil and human rights.

 

BIN supports a boycott of all tourism to the Dominican Republic and urges the United States government to use this period to expand the U.S. Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP) in an effort to provide reprieve and justice for those adversely impacted by lagging immigration policies in the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.

 

The Black Immigration Network calls for a Week of Action July 27- August 1, in partnership with grassroots activist and organizations to bring attention to this injustice and international solidarity to end this human rights crisis. All Black lives matter, beyond borders — the time is now for a global movement to stop anti-black racism in the Dominican Republic and promote national reconciliation.

This statement is published publically and available via Huffington Post Black Voices

###

Media Inquiries: Tia Oso, BIN National Coordinator  - 480-382-1753 – Tia (AT) BlackAlliance.org


Press Release: National “Kinship Assembly” to Unite Black Immigrants and African-Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contacts:

Tia Oso, Tia@blackalliance.org, 917-310-3785

Opal Tometi, Opal@blackalliance.org

National “Kinship Assembly” to Unite Black Immigrants and African-Americans

Issues including immigration reform, voting rights and economic justice to be discussed

[Miami, FL – May 9, 2014] From May 23rd- 25th, 2014, an estimated 150 community leaders from across the country will gather in Miami to discuss racial justice and immigrant rights. Hosted by the Black Immigration Network (BIN), a national “kinship” network comprised of black immigrants and African Americans, leaders and activists will convene at the Little Haiti Cultural Center for three days of strategizing, networking and building a movement to unite Black communities for racial justice and migrant rights.

 

Immigration is a hotly contested issue and media often focus on Mexican immigrants and conflict along the U.S.-Mexico border. There are countless untold are the stories of Black immigrants who bear the brunt of disproportionately high rates of deportation, unemployment, and economic exploitation, many living life in the shadows due to undocumented status. Over 3 million Black immigrants from countries in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Canada live in the United States, comprising 10% of the U.S. foreign-born population. BIN is dedicated to connecting these communities for action and raising their collective voices for social, political and economic justice.

 

With the theme of Rising Together, this biennial Kinship Assembly will feature the use of African Diaspora Dialogues, a small-group exercise designed to build transformative change and mutual understanding between African-Americans and African immigrants on issues of race, culture and identity.  It will also include strategy sessions on Haitian family reunification, immigration reform and mass incarceration/mass detention.  The conference coincides with the culmination of Miami’s month-long celebration of Haitian Heritage Month, and will be co-hosted by local grassroots organizations including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, Power U, Haitian Women of Miami, Florida New Majority, and Caribbean Lawyers Association.

 

“Black immigrants and African Americans have the highest unemployment, highest incarceration, lowest wages and a many more challenges facing us. This is our attempt to rectify that because our communities deserve justice and dignity, and we should have a fighting chance”, said Opal Tometi, Co-Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the coordinating entity for BIN.

 

In March 2013, BIN successfully led the charge to raise the voice of Black immigrants by ratifying its 10 Principles for Just and Inclusive Immigration Reform, petitioning the US Senate, and mobilizing hundreds of African Americans and Black immigrants for a national rally at the US Capitol. BIN has also developed a strategic partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, organizing a panel for it’s Annual Legislative Conference last June on “Pan African Immigration Reform.”

 

“It is important in this heightened moment for Afro Immigrants and African Americans to continue to traverse the bridges that were built during past struggles like the Civil Rights fights, the various independence movements and the dismantling of the racist apartheid system,” said Donald Anthonyson, organizer with New York-based Families for Freedom.

 

Francesca Menes, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Florida Immigrant Coalition agrees. “Our communities need the additional support,” she said. “Florida has one of the largest Caribbean populations in the U.S. and it’s important to give community members an opportunity to hear some policy analysis, participate in peer-led workshops and voice their issues.”

 

The goal of the assembly and BIN overall is to develop a network that nurtures relationships among Black-led organizations, builds collective strategies for justice, and provides support to make their work more effective.

 

Trina Jackson of Boston-based Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity shared, “In a day and age where African Americans are pitted against immigrants, we are a group that says this must stop – we embrace and love one another, and know that our commitment to justice is a commitment to all of us!”

 

Registration information for the conference can be found online at http://blackimmigration.net

###

 


2014 BIN Kinship Assembly – Scholarships Now Available

BIN Conference, May 23-25, 2014 Miami, Florida

The Black Immigration Network Conference Scholarship gives kin that might otherwise not be able to attend the opportunity to participate in the Kinship Assembly.  Limited scholarship funds are available to applicants with financial need, to apply towards travel and/or hotel expenses to support attendance at the 2014 Kinship Assembly, May 23-25 in Miami, FL.  Scholarships are provided to encourage ongoing interest in and involvement with Black Immigration Network. Attendance helps in understanding the BIN framework, increases capacity, and develops key relationships. Participants are responsible for covering non-applicable expenses such as ground transportation and non-conference meals and materials.  All scholarship recipients will be required to pay the conference registration fee.

 

Scholarship Criteria:

  • Membership: Priority given to current BIN Members. Non-members are encouraged to apply as well.
  • Financial need
  • Represent an organization or be an individual serving, organizing, advocating for, and/or providing research for African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African American communities in the United States
  • Able to benefit from attendance at kinship assembly

Additional factors taken into consideration include: financial need, geography, underrepresented communities, and area of practice.

 

Scholarship Recipients will be required to:

  • Commit to attend assembly activities
  • Complete a pre-conference and post conference survey

The priority deadline for stipend applicants is Monday April 21, 2014.

TO APPLY – CLICK HERE to complete the Scholarship Application Form or copy and paste this link into your browser (https://tinyurl.com/lmglhp2)

 

QUESTIONS? Contact Tia Oso, BIN Coordinator – Tia (at) BlackAlliance.og or call 917-310-3785.


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.