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Advocates Reflect on Juneteenth and the Detention, Enforcement and Exclusion of Black Immigrants

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Recording of the call can be found here 


Ahead of Juneteenth, advocates joined a press call to address the shifting immigration landscape and called on the Biden administration to address the ways that immigration singles out Black migrants for incarceration and deportation and the unique challenges Black immigrants face. 

Please join The Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) and the African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs (ABISA) in celebration of the 1 year anniversary of the Black Immigrants Bail Fund and the celebration of Juneteenth! The event will take place June 18th at 3 pm PST | 6 pm EST. Sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/BIBF1

Fatou-Seydi Sarr, Founder, African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs (ABISA), said, “The Black Immigrant Bail Fund is a national project that the Haitian Bridge Alliance and the African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs have created last year, on Juneteenth, to support and provide free assistance to Black immigrants facing injustice. Our siblings are facing higher bonds. And we understand when our brothers and sisters come to America, they are fleeing slavery, they are fleeing famine and war, they certainly don’t have 50,000 dollars in order topay for their freedom from immigration prisons. Our commitment is to eliminate mass incarceration and level the playing field of due process. We are not stopping and don’t plan on stopping until every Black immigrant is free because we understand this is the only way they are going to be able to pursue their dreams. We will not let any Black immigrant’s freedom hinge on their wealth, because we know Black Lives Matter no matter where they are from and no matter where they are born.

Guerline Jozef, President, Haitian Bridge Alliance, said, “Today I pay honor to our ancestors and celebrate Juneteenth with my brothers and sisters-As a Black immigrant and a descendant of enslaved people in the Americas, I understand that we must continue to push for freedom and uplift the voices that are still in bondage in order to ensure that freedom and liberation prevails everywhere. We demand that the administration provides protections for people spanning everywhere from the Bahamas,Cameroon, Mauritania, St. Vincent, to other majority Black countries. The passage of HR 6 would cover 11 million undocumented people, including DACA and TPS holders. The Haitian Bridge Alliance continues to push for diversity and inclusion within the immigration movement, because as a Black woman, I cannot separate my immigration status from my blackness. Immigration is a racial justice issue, Immigration is a Black Issue”

Susan, a member of CASA in Maryland originally from Cameroon who would benefit from TPS, said, “When I came to the US, I was held at a detention center for about six months. It was not easy at all, and we were psychologically traumatized because more than three quarters of the other Cameroonian individual hearings failed. We knew if we were sent back to Cameroon, we would be killed. Cameroon is temporarily unsafe for us. TPS for Cameroon would benefit myself and over 38,000 other Cameroonians in the US. We are pleading with the Biden administration to grant us TPS for Cameroon.”

Zack Mohamed, Deportation Defense Organizer, Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project (BLMP), said, “one of our main goals in BLMP is to envision a world without forced migration, where all Black LGBTQIA+ people are liberated. I think of my personal story as a Somali refugee who came into this country—having the opportunity and privilege to be here even though my home country was destabilized. Because of the oppression that still lingers today, I was not able to call that place home. So many people have to flee their homes, and so many endure the challenges and trauma that comes with the journey to leave where they once called home to find a new place that will welcome them with respect and dignity. Many people find that at the end of those journeys, they are met with more criminalization and anti-Blackness.”

Adriana Cadena, Statewide Coordinator, Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA), said, “We commemorate Juneteenth and honor Black people and all those who continue to suffer at the hands of slavery. These types of militarized action of persecution, apprehending, and criminalizing people of color continues to happen at the Southern border. So for us in El Paso, Texas, we honor Juneteenth by taking over the border with our Hugs Not Walls event, where families that have been separated by unjust immigration laws come together right in the middle of the Rio Grande to embrace for a few brief moments. This is an act of love and humanity, and it’s also an act of resistance to the militarization of our border, and it’s an act of protest against the inhumane practices and policies that deny them and their family the dignity and respect they deserve. In this community of Black and Brown people, we are coming together against these injustices. Hugs Not Walls highlights the interconnectedness of Black Americans and immigrants, and shows solidarity between oppressed people in the fight against racism, white supremacy, and xenophobia.”

Diana Konate, Policy Director, African Communities Together, said, “As we celebrate Juneteenth, I want to acknowledge that many of us Black immigrants who were born abroad but who have made the United States our home have benefitted from the continuous fight for freedom by generations of Black people in the United States.  We join in on that ongoing fight because we recognize that regardless of where we were born, the experiences of Black people remain the same.  From an immigration perspective, black immigrants face disproportionate levels of enforcement, detention, and exclusion. These can have life-threatening results as black immigrants often get deported back to unsafe and dangerous conditions. We thankfully experience some victories along the way, like the recent redesignation of Haiti for TPS, but a lot of the work remains.”