UndocuBlack Network opposes Trump's Family Ban; It has everything to do with white supremacist agenda and nothing to do DACA

Washington, DC -   As support for the DREAM Act increases, Trump held a meeting with bipartisan legislators today where he reiterated the ‘family ban’ along with a list of poison  pills as part of a “DACA deal”.  The UndocuBlack Network reaffirms its opposition to this latest call for the end of the Diversity Visa program, a part of the family ban.

“The family ban is any and all attacks on the family-based visa immigration system and the diversity of this country as provided by the  Diversity Visa program.  

 What does the family ban have to do with DACA?  Absolutely nothing.  What does it have to do with a racist, xenophobic presidency and advancing a white supremacist agenda? Absolutely everything.  

We stand with and for the DREAM Act and support its passage for immigrant youth in all of our communities.   What we do not stand for is any compromises to our immigration system especially the Diversity Visa program which ensures that individuals from low admission countries in other visa categories, have an equitable opportunity to migrate freely.

We are adamantly against ending the Diversity Visa program and family-based visa immigration system.  Any friend of immigrants must be too.”

Patrice Lawrence, Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack Network

The Trump Administration adds 200,000 Salvadorans to their deportation list

For Immediate Release
January 8, 2018
Contact: info@undocublack.org

Washington, DC - In a continuation of the repulsive Trump Administration agenda to evict immigrants,  Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador has been terminated as of this morning by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kristjen Nielson.

“This was Nielson’s first test of humanity for TPS holders and she has disgracefully failed. There are over 200,000 Salvadorans with TPS and ending their legal protection is cruel and inhumane.  The 18 month extension is no solace as asking these individuals to stop their lives, that of their children and family is preposterous. All roads now lead to a legislative solution immediately.” - Patrice Lawrence, National Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack Network.

The UndocuBlack Network understands that the administrative arm of government is blind to facts.  Salvadorans live and work across the country with heavy populations in Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and Nevada.  There are currently two bills in the House and one in the Senate with the purpose of a permanent solution for the over 320,000 individuals with Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.

The clock is ticking.

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Congress, attach the DREAM Act to the spending bills and it will pass before the holidays. “My mom shouldn’t have to worry over the upcoming holidays”

December 21, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Info@undocublack.org

Washington, DC - Congress has two days left and no more to pass the DREAM Act before the end of the year and we are counting on them to do so.  It is the responsibility of the government to listen to the people and we have spoken, loudly.  The message is crystal clear, DREAM Act now for the holidays.  

“The DREAM Act must be passed before congress goes home in two days.  We’ve heard enough speeches, the time to act is now.” Jonathan Jayes-Green, co-founder of UndocuBlack Network continued, “Congress has had 17 years to debate this bill.  Time has run out.”

“This is life or death for us. I can’t plan for my future without knowing where I stand. I need to know that in the new year I can help support my family. My mom shouldn’t have to worry over the upcoming holidays.” Ronnie James, DACA Recipient, NYC Co-lead in UndocuBlack Network.

The DREAM Act is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-cultural issue, and yes, a Black issue.  We don’t have time to play politics knowing 12,000 individuals have lost their status already. Two days Congress, you’ve got two days.

Black and AAPI Immigrant Advocates Lead Day of Action on Capitol Hill to Demand Action on TPS and DREAM

For Immediate Release: December 5, 2017

Contact: Kelsea Wilkerson, kelsea@megaphonestrategies.com, 972-951-6694

Miguel Ayala, miguel@megaphonestrategies.com, 202-279-0647

***Media interested in interviews + coverage should contact Kelsea Wilkerson at Kelsea@megaphonestrategies.com.***


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Close to 150 immigrants and advocates from Black and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities came together to in Washington, D.C. for a day of action on immigration. Together, the two groups, often unheard in the debate about immigration policy, will join forces to call for a clean DREAM Act and a permanent solution for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

You can find a link to the FB live here.

Led by UndocuBlack and the AAPI Immigrant Rights Organizing Table, the day featured a press conference with Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA).

Central demands include:

  • NO change must be made to TPS and no more terminations until a legislative solution is achieved.

  • The best permanent solutions that TPS holders support are ones that provide full permanent protection for all countries.  It is important that this includes Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti who all had terminations in 2017.

  • A clean DREAM Act focused on creating pathways to citizenship, not expanded enforcement.

Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Creator and National Coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network added, “Black and AAPI Immigrant are joining hands on this historic day of action to reject the lie that our people are disposable and that we are each other’s enemies. We are centering and uplifting our own voices, hold elected officials accountable and demand a clean Dream Act and a permanent solution for TPS holders together. The time is now and congress needs to act on both before the end of the year.“

Holden Pierre, a 24 year-old Haitian TPS holder who spoke at the press conference, commented,”I love Haiti, but I have not lived there since I was 7. I’ve built a life, graduated from college and started my career. I worry most about my younger siblings and what will happen to them, what will happen to our if my mom and I are forced to go back to Haiti. I’m standing up for them, and thousands of others asking Congress to step in and find a permanent solution for our family.”

“Having TPS has changed my life. It has allowed me to be able to work, and having the ability to work means that I have the ability to go to school.  TPS allows me to continue my education and my work in a Biology lab where I am currently working on my own research project,” said Lys Isma, Haitian National, TPS Recipient, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida.  

 “DACA changed my life. It allowed me to go to and finish school, get a good job and support my family.  A clean DREAM Act must pass before Christmas,” said Jung Woo Kim speaking on behalf of the Korean Resource Center and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC). “We, young immigrant Americans, are an important part of the future of this nation. What kind of government would throw away its young people?”

Anthony Ng with Asian Americans Advancing Justice said, “Each day Congress doesn't take action, more undocumented youth become more vulnerable to deportation while loosing their ability to provide for them selves and their family. Inaction from Congress on this issue is unacceptable. Congress must pass a clean Dream Act by the end of the year.

“As an undocumented immigrant, womxn of color, and a Dreamer, I can attest to the fact that this bill will determine the future of 11 million human lives. This bill is not just a policy. This bill is not an amnesty. This bill is about true American value, American history, humanity, and justice,” said Angie Kim, who participated in the press conference on behalf of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. “Without a clean DREAM Act, nearly 800,000 young lives will be at risk of deportation and inhumanely be forced to walk away from the only home, the only life they know. In effect, it will also jeopardize the lives of 11 million undocumented families. No human being is illegal and every human being deserves a chance to pursuit happiness and foster a better future for their children. Without a clean Dream Act, My life will be in a limbo and I will be separated from my family.”

"As Nepalis, as Asian Americans and as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, we have come to DC to unite forces with our comrades from the African immigrant community to demand a permanent solution to TPS now., “” explained Maya Gurung, a TPS recipient with Adhikaar.   “There are over 430,000 people who have TPS and the Trump administration is cancelling TPS programs, throwing our lives into turmoil.  We demand passage of the American Promise Act in the House and the SECURE Act in the Senate for TPS recipients. We need a permanent solution for our communities and a Clean DREAM Act for our fellow Dreamers."
 

Immediately following, the groups delivered a CREDO petition with 400,000 signatures in support of DREAMers and TPS holders to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY), Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI), Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY), and Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Capitol Hill offices.

While the groups are joining a larger effort to pass the DREAM Act, they also lifted up the fight for a permanent solution to TPS as decisions for four countries loom in 2018. Incoming Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Neilson has not expressed support for continuing the program.

Trump’s decision to end TPS will impact 420,000 immigrants from over 10 countries, the majority of which have populations that are majority black including Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Yemen, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua. Ending DACA will impact 800,000 youth and young adults across the U.S.

The day of action will occur during a full week of advocacy with thousands of undocumented young people, TPS holders, advocates and supporters. On Wednesday, the two groups will join the broader immigration coalition protest on Capitol Hill.

***Media interested in interviews + coverage should contact Kelsea Wilkerson at Kelsea@megaphonestrategies.com.***

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UndocuBlack Network Rejects DHS decision to end Temporary Protected Status for Haitians; warns officials to quit playing politics with people's lives

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2017
Contact: info@undocublack.org

Washington, DC
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has officially announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status  for the over 50,000 Haitians currently with this legal protection.  

The Department of Homeland Security is operating in exact opposition to reports on the current country conditions for Haiti, all indicating that these nationals need this protection. The facts speak for themselves. The country is still reeling from natural disasters as recent as Hurricanes Irma and Maria this summer, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the earthquake in 2010 leaving over 300,000 without proper shelter.  Cholera is still rampant and there is a new outbreak of diphtheria on the island which has sickened over 800,000. Maintaining the humanitarian status is an issue of public health and basic human decency.

“I am disappointed but I am not surprised.  You cannot surprised when a system not designed for you fails you. I live in America, I live as a Black female undocumented immigrant. Those are just many ways I was not designed to succeed. But I’m just going to have to succeed in spite of all of those factors.” Lys Isma, TPS holder, student at Florida International University, member of UndocuBlack Network.

Haitians like Lys  and her family work, study and live in the United States.  They have built homes, engaged with their communities as health care providers, construction, hospitality workers and range from the youth to the elderly.  It is important that all allies raise TPS as an issue under threat as time is already running out for Sudanese and Nicaraguan nationals, who will see an end to their protections in 2018 and 2019.  We anticipate the next decision in January for over 200,000 nationals with TPS from El Salvador and we cannot allow more individuals to be stripped of legal status.

There are several bills that provide a permanent solution for TPS holders across this country including the Secure Act by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) . The Secure Act is the product of a large effort of several unions: IUPAT, UNITE HERE, UFCW, BAC,  IWC and several organizations including CARECEN - LA and UndocuBlack Network , to draft the bill. Last week, Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, stood along with MomsRising, SEIU, Herd on the Hill, Mormon Women for Ethical Governance, UndocuBlack, CASA, and Allies to announce the introduction of the bill that would provide a residency status for all current TPS holders.

The DREAM Act as it is carefully crafted, would also allow thousands of immigrant youth failed by TPS to work and thrive fully. It is up to congress to do their jobs and act now before the end of the year.

A word to elected representatives and other officials - quit playing politics with the lives of people.

 

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

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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.

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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.”

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