From the Field

BAJI: Immigration reform is a black thing, too (crosspost)

Imagine 2050 • Nov 23, 2014

In an Op-Ed for The Root, Opal Tometti writes that “[p]itting African Americans against immigrants is a false dichotomy.” Tometti is the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, an education and advocacy organization comprised of African Americans and black Immigrants working at the intersection of racial justice and migrant rights.

Tometti writes:

“The diversity of our immigrant identities in the black community is often obscured. Many of us adopt the identity of ‘African-American’ when we are first-generation from Jamaica or Senegal, were brought here as children from Haiti or Belize or come from Ghana on a student visa and learn quickly to adopt American accents and styles of dress to more easily adapt. When we advocate for civil rights while choosing not to complicate the definition of what it means to be black leads us to the mistaken idea that immigrants and African Americans are mutually exclusive groups. The immigrant rights movement has largely focused on Latino issues, at times obscuring the realities of the many different faces of immigrants in this country and leading many of us to draw the mistaken conclusion that immigration should be a low priority.

“Black immigrants, in particular, face the same conditions of inequity that African Americans do. Police, employers and bigots do not ask for a person’s country of origin before discriminating. Immigrant communities face the same neighborhood displacement as black communities in Washington, D.C. and New York City.”


Read the entire post at The Root.

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