By: Taylor Dumpson
The proposal made by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, to revoke the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status for immigrants from primarily black and brown countries, to cut the Diversity Visa Program, and reinforce hateful and prejudicial stereotypes surrounding immigrant communities is an issue inherently connected to the topic of Civil Rights. It is, as Civil Rights Leaders from over seven different organizations call, a “racial purge,” and yet another act of white supremacy under this administration.
On February 27, 2018, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, UndocuBlack Network, Women’s March, Advancement Project, National Immigration Law Center, Black Women’s Round Table, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and National Action Network teamed up for an informative congressional briefing titled, “For the Love of Black Immigrants”. Here, panelists representing various organizations discussed how recent shifts in policy put the lives of African-diasporic immigrants at risk due to their intersecting identities; their race, nationality, and citizenship status. It was argued that the intent to restrict legal immigration for individuals seeking the “American Dream” was not only put in place to perpetuate the white-washed identity of the United States, but to also used to break apart families in a last-ditch effort to maintain the status quo. Panelist harkened back to the historical impact immigration has had on the country, and how generations of immigrants have shaped the legacy of this nation.
Across the nation, judges in federal district courts have been challenging the constitutionality of the Trump Administration’s decisions to abruptly end or significantly limit such programs, especially without a solution in place for impacted demographics. As members of Congress are working to find a long-term solution for DACA recipients, leaders like Tamika Mallory from Women’s March, Senior Policy Attorney for the National Immigration Law Center, Avideh Moussavian, and Patrice Lawrence, Policy Director for the UndocuBlack Network reminded audience members that now is the time for action, advocacy, and allyship.
Currently, in the United States there are approximately 60,000 black undocumented people, nearly 70,000 black immigrants from Haiti, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, and 40% of the 50,000 visas granted through the Diversity Visa Program have been given to immigrants from African countries. And as if these communities were not vulnerable enough, many of the individuals seeking citizenship, refuge, and opportunity here in the United States are often coming from majority-Muslim countries, putting them further at risk for discrimination and islamophobia violence. Now more than ever, it is crucial that members of the legal community unite to advocate for and defend the protection of individuals seeking to be a part of this great democracy; for their dream, like mine, is that our futures are ones of prosperity, opportunity, and success. That is the “American Dream”.
To adapt the words of Langston Hughes, immigrants, too, sing America.
Taylor Dumpson is an intern with the Stop Hate Project. She is a graduating senior at American University . She will be attending Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with the intent to continue her activism as she pursues a career in civil rights litigation. She has not only been the victim of a hate crime but has channeled her experience into advocacy and community organizing around was to prevent future hate crimes, specifically as they relate to education.