BY JOSÉ ARNULFO CABRERA | February 12, 2021
Black immigrants are often overlooked during conversations about immigrants and the realities they face. Black immigrants are more likely to be detained and deported than the overall immigrant population. Their stories tend to get lost in a very Latinx space, as do other non-Latinx immigrants. All of this is due to anti-Blackness and the culture of white supremacy society we live in.
This week many Black immigrant-led organizations have organized Black Immigrant Advocacy Week of Action. The last few days have been filled with webinars, Congressional briefings, live streams, social media actions, and much more—all working to put public pressure on the Biden Administration to take action by designating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and/or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to Cameroon and Mauritania, recognizing and addressing systemic anti-Black racism within the U.S. asylum and refugee systems, and ending the detention and deportation of Black immigrants. Advocates are also calling on the Biden Administration to start a Black Immigrant task force that will work to address the reasons why Black immigrants are often overlooked, undercounted, and sometimes altogether erased in the U.S. debate surrounding immigration, and yet are often disproportionately impacted by anti-immigrant policies.
Black Mauritanian immigrants are in fear of returning to a country where they will be “frequently subjected to unaccountable police violence, slavery, human trafficking, genocide, restrictions on free speech and association, discrimination in education and access to citizenship and identity documents, and racism and repression in all aspects of civic life.” For Cameroonians, being deported to Cameroon means being between multiple deadly armed conflicts. Three different groups are at war with each other; the Cameroonian government, Anglophone separatists, and Boko Haram. “More than 730,000 people in Cameroon have attempted to flee the violence of the conflicts in the past three years.”
The day after President Biden introduced a deportation moratorium, a federal judge in Taxes blocked it. This has allowed ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) to continue deporting Haitian immigrants to a country that is attempting to stop a dictatorship. Haiti is a country that has been battered by recent hurricanes, an earthquake in 2010, and a cholera epidemic that was introduced by a U.N. peacekeeping camp. Three deportation flights to Haiti left yesterday and more are expected to leave today.
Growing up I knew more African migrants than Latinx. We mustn’t forget those who are escaping genocide, slavery, and dictatorship. We mustn’t deny them refuge. We must listen to immigrants, regardless of their skin color. And we must understand that migration isn’t a Latinx issue.
At 1 PM ET today, Friday, February 12, you can take action!
- Call on the White House to establish a dedicated Task Force for Black Immigrants!
- Watch: A Journey of Hope: Haitian Women’s Migration to Tapachula, Mexico
- Watch: Interfaith Vigil: Praying for Justice and Peace for Black Immigrants
Use these graphics with the suggested tweets below to take part today in this important action:
Friday, Feb. 12: End the detention and deportation of Black immigrants!
- On the last day of Black Immigrant Advocacy Week of Action, we call on the #Biden administration to immediately end the detention & deportation of Black immigrants! @POTUS has promised to address systemic racism in the U.S. – immigration MUST be included. #Act4BlackImms
- From the moment someone is inhumanely put in immigration detention, their health, both mental and physical, begins to deteriorate. #Act4BlackImms
- Black immigrants are more likely to be detained and deported than any other immigrant group. We must #Act4BlackImms and end mass incarceration now! @DHS_Secretary @DHSgov #DefendAsylum #BlackLivesMatter
White House Task Force on Black Immigrants tweets:
- Black immigrants and Black immigrant families are often overlooked, undercounted, and sometimes altogether erased in the U.S. debate surrounding immigration and yet are often disproportionately impacted by anti-immigrant policy or failures to act. #Act4BlackImms
- To meaningfully address systemic racism in America – as the #Biden admin has pledged – immigration must be included. A dedicated Task Force and resources are needed. Call on @POTUS to establish a Task Force on Black immigrants now: https://p2a.co/K7K44Jr #Act4BlackImms
José Arnulfo Cabrera is the director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He is a 2018 graduate of Xavier University, a DACA recipient, and an immigration activist. He previously worked with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he provided training on lobbying, organizing, and immigration policy, as well as shared his own immigration story, and as a government relations associate with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C.