Terminating TPS for 5,300 Nicaraguans and Punting on 86,000 Hondurans Exemplifies Lack of Accountability for Failed Immigration and Foreign Policies


November 7, 2017

Contact: info@undocublack.org, aviscarra@carecen-la.org, abraham@blackalliance.org

UndocuBlack Network,  the Central American Resource Center-Los Angeles (CARECEN-LA) and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) call for permanent solution

UndocuBlack Network,  the Central American Resource Center-Los Angeles (CARECEN-LA) and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) strongly condemn the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Nicaragua and for the cowardice of the Administration by way of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the delay of a decision for Honduran nationals.

TPS holders from Honduras and Nicaragua have been living lawfully in the U.S. for over 18 years. They have established homes, families, and careers in spite of the limbo created by insufficient immigration policy priorities and actions of prior administrations. Many TPS holders have been living in the U.S. for over two decades, with TPS being the only opportunity for some asylum-seekers and refugees to obtain some resemblance of stability. To revoke status and force people to leave their homes, families, and communities behind is unjust and inhumane.  

The government’s tactless decision to terminate TPS designations for Nicaraguans and to continue to play politics with the lives of Hondurans highlights the failures of the broken U.S. immigration system, and the U.S. government’s destructive foreign policies. Central American asylum-seekers have been methodically denied asylum claims and family unification due to narrow interpretation of asylum laws. The U.S. government exhibits a complete lack of accountability for attracting cheap and exploitable labor to the country, while imposing destructive economic and security policies on Central America.

The U.S. government has undoubtedly influenced the economic, social, and military infrastructures implemented throughout the Caribbean and Central America, and therefore is responsible for many of the current social and security problems in El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras. The abhorrent conditions in the “Northern Triangle” and Haiti are not simply a result of corrupt governments or gang violence. The U.S. bears the brunt of the responsibility for creating these “in-country” conditions, both past and present. The U.S. Department of State and other government officials are incorrect in their assessment that these countries are prepared to receive TPS holders. Further, the lack of a decision for Honduras is antagonistic and misguided. As evidenced by the unprecedented six-month extension of TPS for Haiti earlier this year, the Administration unnecessarily keeps those who seek protection on uneven ground.  

The anticipated decision for Honduras therefore needs to be an extension of provisional residency and we reject the decision to terminate for Nicaragua. Moreover, with the decision for Haiti rapidly approaching, DHS must extend TPS for Haitians.  

Beyond extensions and redesignations, it is of vital importance to work towards  legal permanent residency for the thousands of TPS holders who are undoubtedly U.S. nationals. It is time for the U.S. government to hold itself accountable and seeing that the executive branch is incapable of an honest assessment of its historic and present role in crises throughout Central America and the Caribbean, the onus is now on the legislative branch to bring some measure of accountability and justice to this situation. We urge Members of Congress to take account of the facts and propose honest and quick solutions to the unfair plight of TPS holders.


For Immediate Release
November 3, 2017
Contact: info@undocublack.org

UndocuBlack  Network  appeals to any shred of humanity in DHS Acting Secretary Duke amid rumors to end Temporary  Protected Status for Central Americans and Haitians

Washington, DC - We are gravely disappointed though sadly not surprised by reports that the State department at the direction of Rex Tillerson -  is recommending the termination of Temporary Protected Status for Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti.  Tens of thousands of long time US residents now face the prospect of being uprooted from their homes and back to these countries, all of which are currently facing challenging conditions.

This  recommendation means that our Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Haitian neighbors would be subject to the deportation  machine Trump is constantly fortifying. They would leave behind businesses they've started, homes they've bought and communities they’ve built. These individuals live across the U.S. especially in thriving metropolitan areas of New York, Florida, and California. They include over 300,000 students, hospitality and construction workers, health-care providers, educators, and children.  Above all, they are people - people who have lived in the US for decades and deserve protection.  They are integral parts of our communities and are parents of US citizens.

The onus is now on the DHS to make the final decision and we encourage Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to carefully consider extending the protected status of no less than 18 months for Nicaragua, Honduras and Haiti.

To do anything but is a slap in the face of democracy and blatant disregard for the humanity of these residents.


Diversity Visa recipients, Congressional leaders, immigration experts and community groups defend the importance of protecting the Diversity Visa Program

For Immediate Release          

Contact: Anu Joshi

ajoshi@nyic.org or 805.404.3225

November 2, 2017


Diversity Visa program keeps the possibility of the American Dream alive for individuals from countries who are under-represented in the immigration system

A recording of today’s call is available here.

New York, NY — On a press call today, leaders from Congress, immigration experts and those personally connected to the Diversity Visa program convened to defend the program as an integral part of the country’s immigration system and a beacon of hope to individuals around the world.

Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Congressional Black Caucus member, commented, “The diversity visa lottery program was designed to ensure that the United States remains a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith nation for the benefit of us all. The program has provided opportunity to immigrants who have historically been discriminated against in their pursuit of the American Dream, due in large part to immigration laws that prohibited their participation. I have been a vocal advocate for the Diversity Visa Lottery since my earliest days in Congress and will continue to fight for its protection.”

Anu Joshi, Director of Immigration Policy, New York Immigration Coalition, said, “The New York Immigration Coalition stands strong in our support for the DV program and the important role it has played in creating a strong, vibrant, diverse immigrant community in New York. The Diversity Visa plays an integral role in keeping the possibility of the American Dream alive for individuals from countries who are under-represented in our immigration system. Without the Diversity Visa program New York City would be denied the contributions and cultures of thousands of African and Asian immigrants who have made this city their home.”

Patrice Lawrence, National Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack Network, commented, “Trump seeks to drastically reduces how many people have the opportunity to legally immigrate to the United States. Trump is against spouses, our grandparents, children being reunited with their parents in the name of so competitive advantage and now false national security.”

Darakshan Raja, Diversity Visa recipient and co-director DC Justice for Muslims Coalition said, “As a recipient of a Diversity Visa I know how important it is that politicians stop playing politics by threatening to end important immigration programs that allow people to flee violence, conflict, wars and find stability. By threatening to eliminate the Diversity Visa program, our government is sending another message upholding xenophobia, islamophobia and racism.”

Pabitra Benjamin, Executive Director, Adhikaar, said, “The lesson from Tuesday's tragedy and any tragedy is not to demonize and scapegoat immigrants, Muslims or the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. After the Las Vegas shooting, we didn't go after every accountant in Las Vegas because that would be a ridiculous approach to the tragedy. The same would apply here. Going after the Diversity Immigrant Visa program is using the tragedy in New York City to divide communities. Instead, we must focus on rising beyond acts of terror like Tuesdays to come together and mourn the lives lost and work towards a better future. A future that people who come on Diversity Visas are seeking for their families in the United States of America.”

Bert Bayou of Rockville, Maryland entered the United States through the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery in 2001 from Ethiopia. When he arrived, he first worked parking cars for the minimum wage. Today, Bayou is a U.S. Citizen, and the President of UNITE-HERE Local 23, a labor union that represents thousands of parking and food service workers. The Local counts hundreds of Diversity Visa holders among its members. He commented, "I am like most Diversity Visa lottery immigrants: I worked hard, went to school, and did my best to get ahead so I could have a better life for myself and my family. Now I am organizing low-wage immigrant workers in Washington to raise themselves out of poverty. I can tell you from experience that DV immigrants already go through exhaustive checking before they can come here. Most are skilled workers with degrees who just want a chance to get ahead. It would be a huge loss to my community and to this country to end this program."

Abed Ayoub, Legal Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said, “Since taking office, President Trump has seen four major acts of mass violence in the United States, with the highest fatalities occurring in Las Vegas with a white shooter. Yet while the President has been silent on solutions to acts of mass violence writ large, when the perpetrator is Muslim, there is an immediate, disproportionate response that largely discriminates against disadvantaged minority groups, such as Arabs, Muslims and those perceived to be Arab or Muslim.”


PRESS CALL TODAY: Diversity Visa recipients, Congressional leaders, immigration experts and community groups respond to attacks on Diversity Visa program

Contact: Anu Joshi, New York Immigration Coalition

ajoshi@nyic.org or 805.404.3225

November 2, 2017



November 2nd at 11:15 a.m. EST

DIAL IN: 877-888-4291 ; PASSCODE: immigration

The Diversity Visa is a bipartisan program that provides an opportunity to a limited number of immigrants from countries with historically low immigration rates to come to the United States. Only 50,000 Diversity Visas are awarded each year. The Diversity Visa program has played a critical role in creating a strong, vibrant, diverse immigrant community in the United States. On Tuesday, President Trump and other Congressional Republicans made several inflammatory and inaccurate comments attacking the program.

On a press call TODAY, November 2nd at 11:15 a.m. EST, Diversity Visa recipients, Congressional leaders, immigration experts and community groups will respond to the attacks on the program and the impact the program has had on immigrant communities and the country.



Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Congressional Black Caucus member

Darakshan Raja, Diversity Visa recipient and co-director of DC Justice For Muslims Coalition

Patrice Lawrence, National Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack Network (will also share stories of Diversity Visa recipients)

Pabitra Benjamin, Executive Director, Adhikaar (will also share stories of Diversity Visa recipients)

Neena Dutta, immigration attorney, New York City

Abed Ayoub, Legal Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Anu Joshi, Immigration Policy Director, New York Immigration Coalition (moderator)

WHEN: THURSDAY, November 2nd at 11:15 a.m. EST

DIAL IN: 877-888-4291  ; PASSCODE: immigration



UndocuBlack Network decries scapegoating Immigrants - The Diversity Visa Lottery Program


November 11, 2017

Contact: info@undocublack.org, 240-903-0189

As New York City recovers from a tragedy, Black immigrants once again find themselves in the firing line, alongside our brothers and sisters in the MASA community.

The Diversity Visa Lottery has been drastically reduced over the years, eliminating the legal migration of Black immigrants to this country.  Yesterday’s violent incident in New York City does not merit this xenophobic Administration attacking a program that was enacted with bi-partisan support during a Republican presidency. Let’s not forget that Trump’s idea of a merit-based system involves only people who “speak English, have high degrees, a job offer and create new businesses.”

America’s borders are secure and the biggest threat to immigrants are the white supremacists and the state agents who abuse their power. Trump is against spouses, our grandparents, children being reunited with their parents in the name of so-called competitive advantage.

It has never been clearer that Trump does not value family and has no empathy. We expect our leaders in Congress and our allies to stand up for and by the Diversity Visa Lottery program.

“As we continue to fight for a DREAM Act that is clean, let’s not forget that a bill criminalizing and demonizing our communities, or eliminating one of the few ways African immigrants are able to immigrate into the U.S., is by no means clean.” - Patrice Lawrence, National Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack Network.

UndocuBlack Network Rejects White House Immigration “Principles”


October 9, 2017

Contact: info@undocublack.org, 240-903-0189

Last night the occupant of the White House released a list of immigration "principles" that they believe must be prioritized in addressing our immigration reform.

The white supremacist wish list includes: Southern border enforcement and interior enforcement, as well as so-called merit based Immigration systems.  The preposterous recommendations not only prescribe inhumane responses to asylees, unaccompanied minors and far-reaching refugee caps, but also restricts visas, severely undercutting legal migration for loved ones of U.S. citizens and green card holders, especially from developing countries.

We however, as undocumented people remain unapologetic in our commitment to pass a clean DREAM Act that provides permanent protections to our young.  We do not support enforcement of any kind nor any measure that criminalizes the rest of our community's existence. That's our demand and we are committed to it.

“It's very clear to us that the only ‘principle’ this White House is committed to is further upholding white supremacy through our immigration system,” said Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and National Coordinator of the UndocuBlack Network.

National Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network, Patrice Lawrence issued the following statement:

“As with all their immigration proposals this year, the Trump Administration led by Steve Miller and Jeff Sessions continues to perpetuate a false rhetoric about immigrants, especially those who are Black or have close proximity to Blackness. This “othering” is not new, in fact it is consistent with historic white nationalism. Similar sentiments have been echoed since the end of slavery.

“The fact is that the government currently has access to over 800,000 lives, some of whom applied for but were denied DACA. We must hold Trump accountable. He irresponsibly ended the DACA program and now must listen to those whom he put at risk. This is not about doing immigrants any favors, the only option we see is a clean DREAM Act.”


For Immediate Release: September 19, 2017

Contact: Ricardo Ramírez, rramirez@advancementproject.org

               Abraham Paulos, abraham@blackalliance.org

Washington -- Advocacy organizations representing immigrant communities of color are denouncing punitive measures from the Trump administration targeting Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The administration’s latest actions continue a trend of attacks against immigrants, especially underrepresented immigrants of color, and effectively condemns entire immigrant populations to poverty.

Recently, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, announced visa sanctions on Cambodia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Guinea immediately halting all issuance of temporary visas  for those nationals. While the administration cited the reason being that these countries do not accept deportees back from the United States, the organizations question the measure. Guinea and Eritrea will be the most severely impacted by this announcement, with Cambodia and Sierra Leone mostly impacting government officials ability to travel to United States.

Advocates are also weary of what is to come of the list of “recalcitrant countries” which  includes over 30 countries, many of which are African or Asian.

Patrice Lawrence, National Advocacy and Policy Coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network explains, “The Trump administration has effectively issued a threat to these four countries and the others that have maintained their sovereignty; we cannot allow DHS’ attempt to erase our African and Asian  brothers and sisters.” Lawrence continued,  “We understand that these sanctions are only some of many tools of isolation that have been used for centuries. If communities are torn apart, relatives prevented from joining their loved ones, entrepreneurs unable to advance their businesses, they imagine they can break us.  We will not allow this white supremacist to issue his threats against our communities under the falsehood of protecting Americans.”  

“As the Trump administration continues to reveal themselves as anti black, anti immigration, and white supremacist, we must continue to show them the face of triumph and resilience. The recent visa sanctions on Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are a continuation of failed and racist policies that will be challenged on all fronts. Although this ban -- yet another one -- covers mostly government officials, the limiting of travel to the U.S from people, and countries of color is concerning,” said Denzel, an advocate in the UndocuBlack Network

“These visa sanctions target immigrants that have escaped war and global health crises.  Like most of Trump’s policies, the sanctions are truly inhumane and chip away at the ability of Black people and immigrants to live, thrive, and pursue opportunities in the U.S.,” said Opal Tometi, Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter Global Network.

"The Trump administration's visa sanctions on these four countries target some of the most vulnerable communities, including refugees who have survived unimaginable trauma," said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. "Instead of attacking loving, hard-working families, we must invest our resources in uniting around real, humane, long-lasting solutions that prioritize peace, and build our communities and economy up, not tear them both down. We call on our Congressional leaders to stand with us to protect all families and denounce these sanctions."

“Advancing Justice | AAJC is saddened that the administration is targeting vulnerable refugees and immigrants from Cambodia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Guinea who have fled violence, persecution and extreme poverty,” said Megan Essaheb, Director of Immigration Advocacy at Advancing Justice | AAJC. “The Cambodians that the government seeks to deport were largely born in refugee camps and came here as children knowing no other country than the U.S. as their home. We urge Congress to step up and intervene on behalf of these immigrants and refugees.”

"The State Department should not be strong-arming small African countries into accepting deportees when there are questions about their nationality. This action raises troubling questions about both national sovereignty and individual due process rights," said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together, an advocacy group for African immigrants in America.

According to DHS, the specific sanctions effective September 13, 2017 are listed below:

·        The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure) for Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, with the rank of Director General and above, and their families.

·        The U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea has discontinued the issuance of all B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure).

·        The United States Embassy in Conakry, Guinea has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure), and F, J, and M visas (temporary visitors for student and exchange programs) to Guinean government officials and their immediate family members.

·        The United States Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure) to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and immigration officials.

The organizations taking a stand against the visa sanctions include: UndocuBlack Network, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI),  African Communities Together (ACT), Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.  Others are New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), National Immigration Law Center (NILC).