UndocuBlack Network’s Statement on Public Charge Rule: White Supremacist in Charge Proceeds With Racist and Classist Regulation Despite Public Protest

The final public charge rule from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was published today, kicking off a 60 day waiting period before the regulation goes into effect on October 15, 2019. The change in policy deviates from the existing guidance since 1999 making it harder for people to get green cards, adjust visa status or enter the U.S.  

"I'm so happy to be outside. I can hardly believe it."

For inquiries contact: info@undocublack.org

We are so happy to be writing on behalf of a coalition of organizations to say that brother Abdi has been released from immigration detention and his asylum was granted!

We want to express our gratitude to all of the people who rallied behind Abdi, Malyuun and their two young daughters, you have made it possible for a family to be reunited! Now that the Mohamed's are adjusting to life without detention we need your help to bring some financial stability to their life after detention, please donate to and share this fundraiser.

Thank you to the powerful legal team at the CLEAR Project and Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic at CUNY School of Law, the relentless love from Malyuun, the efforts of Ilhan Omar's office, and the support of organizations like Color of Change, Freedom to Thrive, Families for Freedom, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, & UndocuBlack Network.

Abdi was finally able to step foot in New York City for the first time since being profiled and detained at JFK airport in December 2017. The Muslim Ban, tuberculosis, racism, borders and for profit prisons could not stop Abdi, so help us ensure that his first concern out of detention is not putting food on the table.

UndocuBlack Network Statement on Supreme Court decisions on Gerrymandering, Census Citizenship Question and DACA

Washington, DC - Over the last couple of days, the United State’s Supreme Court has made decisions that come as a relief to us and others that are devastating. 

In a devastating ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of partisan gerrymandering. At a time when white supremacists are doing everything in their power to steal elections, suppress votes and disenfranchise communities of color, we are heartbroken by the court’s decision. 

While the Supreme Court’s decision on leaving the citizenship question in the Census does not offer a clear resolution, UndocuBlack agrees with the courts that the Trump administration’s inclusion of this question is contrived. As advocates and impacted communities have argued, the citizenship question is an attempt at undercounting our communities and further disenfranchising us from accessing public services. Our position remains: under no circumstances should the Census include a question about citizenship.  Undocumented immigrants, documented immigrants, and citizen alike deserve a complete count. 

Finally, we are disappointed to see the Supreme Court caving to the Trump administration's request to review legal challenges to the termination of the DACA program. The Trump administration has been aggressively insistent on ending the DACA program while the Republican controlled Congress has consecutively blocked clean paths to permanent citizenship for DREAM-eligible immigrants. 

UndocuBlack and impacted immigrants remain committed to continue to fight for our collective liberation without relying on the political class. We urge those who are currently in the DACA program to continue to renew as we await oral arguments later this year and a decision by June 2020. 

UndocuBlack Network’s Director, Jonathan Jayes-Green, “The Trump administration continues to strip away at the rights and protections of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, queer communities, Black and working class people as well as other marginalized people in America. While, in some ways, the courts have attempted to reduce the harm caused by the executive branch, we are disappointed that the Supreme Court’s decisions will allow for further disenfranchisement of Black communities.”


UndocuBlack Network on Passage of DREAM and Promise ACT in the House

June 5th, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: info@undocublack.org

Washington, DC -  The US House of Representatives has finally passed H.R.6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019,  one of the most critical immigration bills in recent times.

The legislation, which is not law, would provide a path to legalization for DREAM-eligible immigrants, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders and is a reflection of the growing power of our movement in demanding protection for all thirteen TPS countries and DED for Liberia. The bill also calls for the return of previously deported people who meet the aforementioned criteria.

The 237-187 vote was possible because of organizing by impacted immigrants, immigrant rights’ advocates and our allies. This bill by itself will not be enough to protect undocumented immigrants. Instead, it is the beginning of a long journey that would give 2.5 million immigrants a pathway to citizenship.

UndocuBlack is glad that attempts by the Republicans to introduce an anti-immigrant amendment to further criminalize our communities was rejected during the House floor debate.

Currently, this bill, particularly for the Dream eligible section of the bill, allows eligibility for people with vacated convictions and marijuana possession. The bill also returns something lost long ago in immigration bills: the right to an attorney in certain cases of an applicant's denial. Additionally, there is a statute of limitations on some offenses. However, we are dismayed that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have some discretion to deny an application based on an applicant's history (up to five years).

While we now have members of Congress on record detailing the racism immigrants face, racially biased gang databases and profiling by law enforcement; we know that our collective work decriminalizing communities continues. Thanks to our advocacy and that of other criminal and immigration justice advocates H.R. 6 prohibits gang databases from being independently used as evidence against an applicant.

We are grateful for all who made last night's vote possible. We challenge the Senate to do what is right and pass this important legislation. All undocumented communities including immigrant youth, TPS and DED holders must have stability and we welcome the day that legislation honoring our dignity  and granting a path to citizenship finally becomes law.

Jonathan Jayes-Green, UndocuBlack Network’s Director:

A year ago, when we were floating the idea of merging DREAM legislation with TPS and DED, we were told it was impossible. We fought hard, organized our own community, our allies and the broader public and made the impossible possible. While we are celebrating today the victory for some of our community members, we are still building towards the day when legislation relating to our community does not exclude people based on juvenile adjudications or even support the usage of gang databases. That day is possible, it’s coming and we’re committed to getting there.

Patrice Lawrence, UndocuBlack Network’s National Policy and Advocacy Director

Looking back at this journey to the passage of this bill is truly a journey of making the impossible possible. This administration has repeatedly attempted to end programs that have provided protections for our communities, has ramped up detentions and deportations attacking us in every way possible. Last night was an example of us collectively saying: that’s enough. The passage of the Dream and Promise Act came true with the fierce dedication and determination of all our immigrant youth, TPS, DED communities and our allies. I am proud to help usher in this win. The fight does not end here.


Historic Dream and Promise Act Moves Forward in the House

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: nekessa@undocublack.org

Historic Dream and Promise Act Moves Forward in the House

Washington, DC - The historic Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) successfully passed the House Judiciary Committee last night after a day-long debate. The bill now moves to the Rules Committee and is expected to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives in early June.

The legislation, which provides a path to legalization for undocumented young people, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders, is a reflection of the growing power of our movement in demanding protection for all thirteen TPS countries and DED for Liberia. The bill offers due process for immigrants and ensures that vacated convictions and marijuana possession do not preclude people from eligibility.

The House of Representatives should pass the Dream and Promise Act, take up important measures like Dignity for Detained Immigrants and undo the disastrous 1996 immigration laws that continue to harm our communities.

Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, UndocuBlack Network:

While the bill is not perfect, I am proud of the work we’ve done fighting back against the criminalization of our communities in both the current bill and especially in the proposed amendments. Every amendment that was offered yesterday seeking to exclude people and to feed xenophobic and racist fears about immigrants was denied - all 11 of them! Additionally, attempts to remove Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from the list of TPS countries eligible for protections were defeated.

Patrice Lawrence, Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack Network:

Last night’s passage of the Dream and Promise Act out of committee is the result of a hard-fought battle won because of the might of our people, our members and our allies. The current Dream and Promise Act is the first time we have a landmark immigration bill in Congress that doesn’t exclude people based on marijuana possession, civil disobedience and minor traffic offenses. While the bill is not everything we asked for and pushed for, we are celebrating the historic wins we achieved. We remain watchful through this process and look forward to getting this bill passed through the House in early June.

Gabrielle Jackson, Mental Wellness Director, UndocuBlack Network:

It was amazing watching the Dream and Promise Act pass the House Judiciary Committee knowing it is a momentous step and a testament to the hard work and commitment of the people who pushed for this to happen! There are still some concerns about the bill as it stands. We are still concerned about the potential exclusion of people who have been placed in secure residential treatment facilities because that could exclude vulnerable Black and Brown youth who are often committed for long term mental health treatment and rehabilitation.

Update on the Liberian DED lawsuit

March 28th, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: nekessa@undocublack.org, assefash@africans.us

UndocuBlack’s statement about hearing on preliminary injunction and other updates

Washington, DC - This afternoon an expedited hearing for a preliminary injunction on the case African Communities Together v. Trump was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman. The lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) for Liberians. DED is a humanitarian immigration program closely related to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which DED beneficiaries, many of whom have resided in the U.S. for over 20 years, previously held.

However, in response to a memorandum from the White House earlier today extending the wind-down period for Liberian DED for an additional 12 months and advancing the termination date to March 31, 2020, the plaintiffs withdrew the motion for a preliminary injunction during today’s hearing and the lawsuit will continue in its normal course.  

The lawsuit is brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, and Dechert LLP  on behalf of fifteen Liberian immigrants and their family members with DED status, African Communities Together (ACT) and the UndocuBlack Network and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on March 8, 2019. It challenges President Trump’s March 27, 2018 decision to end DED for Liberians.

Ten attorneys general from California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, led by Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts, also filed an amicus brief on March 25, 2019 in support of the suit.

The plaintiffs welcomed the announcement, which will provide temporary relief to as many as 4,000 Liberian DED holders who faced the threat of imminent loss of legal status and deportation. However, they affirmed their commitment to carrying on the legal challenge to termination of DED and advocating for Congress to grant permanent status to DED holders, TPS recipients and DREAM-eligible immigrants.

“Our suspicions and doubts about why the Trump administration ended DED last year have not shifted. The president has repeatedly expressed disgust, contempt and outright prejudice against all immigrants and Black immigrants particularly.  Therefore, we will carry on with this suit and are determined to uncover what and how decisions were made to upend the lives of thousands of Liberians across the country.” Patrice Lawrence, Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack Network

“Despite the welcome news of the extension, there are still serious questions that need to be answered about why the White House terminated the program when and how they did, especially considering some of the statements in their own memo extending the deadline. And we're mindful that this is only a one-year extension- DED is still terminated. It took the concerted pressure from this lawsuit, members of Congress, and a wide range of community advocates to secure this win. We need to keep that pressure up.” Amaha Kassa, Executive Director, African Communities Together.

“While we are elated to see the extension of DED for another year; we will continue this fight through every avenue until Liberians are safe. We will see this lawsuit through the end and we will simultaneously fight in Congress to pass a bill, continue to uplift the voices of DED holders in the media and continue to build power on the streets. We are grateful to everyone who joined our call to action, amplified our demands, supported our leadership and believed in our vision.” Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, UndocuBlack Network


UndocuBlack Network Celebrates Liberian DED win!

March 28th, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: nekessa@undocublack.org

Washington, DC - After living in fear of losing their families, homes, and communities, Liberians with Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) can breathe again today. The presidential decree ending their status on March 31, 2019 has been extended for one year to March 31, 2020. This gives Congress time to act, and Congress must act now.

Liberian DED holders have been at the center of this fight. For years, they have advocated for themselves and their families, they have bravely shared their personal stories, filed a lawsuit to protect themselves and continue to build power with each other.

Yatta Kiazolu who most recently testified at the Senate Judiciary hearing welcomes the news, “This is a very necessary win for our community. It was the right thing to do. We are still in the fight for a permanent solution because we still have lives after March 31st, 2020. We know when we fight we win! We are proud of our community and advocates for pushing for this extension.”

Patrice Lawrence, National Policy and Advocacy Director, UndocuBlack Network “The UndocuBlack Network has arduously fought for the integrity, dignity and humanity of all undocumented Black people.  This fight with our Liberian community has been long, hard and frustrating. Our work is personal and to that end we are very grateful for the support that our Liberian communities have gotten from our partners and allies.  This win, though incremental, minute and still a termination of status, must be recognized as the monumental power of the people. The president overturned his own decision, we have more might than we can even begin to imagine. I am proud to lead this fight with you all.”

Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, UndocuBlack Network

“We are elated to see the extension of DED for another year as we see it as a demonstration of the power we’ve built collectively. We have been fighting for this on every front: in Congress, in the media, in the courts and on the streets. And we are proud to see this win. We are also grateful to everyone who joined our call to action, amplified our demands, supported our leadership and believed in our vision. And we know that this is not the end. We need Congress to act now and pass permanent protections for DED holders and the rest of our community!”

Passing legislation is a first and essential step toward fixing our broken immigration system. Bills already introduced in the House (HR 6 — the Dream and Promise Act) and in the Senate (the Dream Act and the Secure Act) would give a path to permanent residence and citizenship to Liberians with DED, to immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, and to undocumented young people.

UndocuBlack continues to fight and advocate for all undocumented Black immigrants.

As Senate reintroduces bills: Dream Act and SECURE Act; UndocuBlack says, protect Dream eligible, TPS and DED immigrants without political games

March 26th, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: nekessa@undocublack.org


Washington, DC- UndocuBlack Network acknowledges the introduction of the Dream Act of 2019  by Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham and the SECURE Act of 2019 in the Senate by Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin.

Our communities are living in limbo and in crisis. We need Congress to act with expediency and offer protection to those most vulnerable in our communities. Many Black immigrants live in mixed-status families that are: Dream eligible, TPS and DED holders. These bills would offer our communities the security they need to thrive and prosper.

DACA, TPS and DED have offered reprieve from deportation and detention for so many in our community, only for them to go back into living in fear when this administration began its attack on the programs. Over the last three years, resources have been poured into attacking our communities.

Re-introducing these bills without harmful provisions is a statement against the myth that America needs a wall on the southern border. In five days, up to 4,000 Liberians will lose their DED protections. This is not a time for politics.

We look toward Dream-eligible, TPS and DED immigrants being safe from the snares of Immigrations Customs and Enforcement (ICE). We look forward to the expedited processing of work permits for DACA, TPS and DED holders. We look forward to an expansive Dream and Secure Act offering protection to more undocumented immigrants.

UndocuBlack continues to fight and advocate for all undocumented Black immigrants.