In response to years of mass mobilizing for immigrant rights in the face of harsh and restrictive enforcement policies, President Obama announced several executive actions that provide relief for an estimated 4 million of more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.
In response to the recent announcement, The Black Immigration Network has released a statement affirming actions that unite families and mitigate the destructive impact deportations on migrant communities as a whole.
“We recognize the relief and economic opportunity these measures will bring to millions that have been organizing for action to change the immigration system. While we welcome the much needed initiative, we are cautious of the impact on those that are left out of the fold, as well as the temporary nature of the policies.“ said Opal Tometi, Director Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “We will continue to fight for immigration reform that is fair, just and inclusive for all of our communities. “
While the administrative measures may protect those who are eligible from deportation and detention, individuals that are not covered are likely to be the subject of increased scrutiny and suffer stricter judgments in removal proceedings. This is especially true for those impacted by the criminal justice system. Singling out those with criminal records, including legal permanent residents, from qualifying for relief is not fair, especially for those who have satisfied their debt to society. Studies have shown that black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are detained and deported at five times the rate of their presence in the undocumented immigrant population. Enforcement programs which engage ill-trained local police agencies in federal immigration enforcement activities lead to these disproportionate numbers of Black migrants entangled into the system due to ethnic, racial and religious profiling and discriminatory policing.
“Disqualification of individuals based on their background is punitive and unnecessary. BIN calls for a stay on all deportations until the entire system is overhauled” said Donald Anthonyson, Organizer with Families For Freedom.
Roughly 500,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are Black.
Kudos to the Black Immigration Network and other organizations that are committed to the rights of undocumented immigrants of color.
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