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.
Facing Race is the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders. The 2014 conference begins Thursday November 13 and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) will be anchoring a workshop on building multiracial alliances in migrant rights organizing. Tia Oso, Coordinator for the Black Immigration Network will present.
Organizing Across Cultures for Immigration Reform
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
The south remains a bastion of white supremacist, capitalist and patriarchal domination. Its legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, conservative organizing, and deep investment in the Mass Incarceration system has been extended by the recent wave of anti-immigrant policy-making. On the front lines of this onslaught are Black and Brown communities – Immigrant and US born. These families and communities are being torn apart by Mass Incarceration, Immigrant Detention, and Deportation.
Join this workshop to find out how these communities – including families themselves – are fighting back, while simultaneously developing strategies to help advance our cause even farther.
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 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|
Moreover, residents of only five countries in sub Saharan Africa were recipients of the DV lottery in significant numbers that exceeded one thousand.
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.
On Thursday February 28th the Black Immigration Network held a webinar entitled “Black Perspectives on Immigration Reform. You can simply download the power point here – OR you can watch the video below.
During this engaging webinar panelists provided informative analysis on the current immigration enforcement landscape; U.S. racism and how it informs the immigrant experience; and the root causes of global migration. This webinar will help diverse black communities and allies understand what we should be uplifting in this current wave of immigration reform.
Thursday February 28, 2013
During this engaging webinar panelists will discuss the current components of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and how it may impact Black Immigrant and African American communities. Panelists will also provide informative analysis on the current immigration enforcement landscape; U.S. racism and how it informs the immigrant experience; and the root causes of global migration. This webinar will help diverse black communities and allies understand what we should be uplifting in this current wave of immigration reform.
Question and Answer Session will follow presentations.
Webinar panelists include:
Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network (PAN)
An activist originally from Eritrea, Nunu is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and has worked in Africa related program and policy developments for over two decades. For the past nine years, Nunu has worked in grassroots mobilization of new African communities in the Bay Area and nationally.
Gerald Lenoir, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Gerald Lenoir has been a leader in progressive social movements for over 30 years. He is currently the Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)
Francesca, the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), was born and raised in Miami, Florida in the community of Little Haiti. For 2 years, Francesca was the coordinator of a national network of organizations fighting for the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status.
Abraham Paulos, Families for Freedom (FFF)
Abraham is the Executive Director of FFF, although he joined as a member, after facing immigration detention for a crime he did not commit. He was vindicated, but his experience moved him to advocate with others. Abraham is an Eritrean refugee, born in Sudan and raised in Chicago.