Advocates protest increased deportations of Black lives during Black History Month
A rally for Black Immigrant Lives is underway at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C. as disproportionate, unlawful deportations of Black immigrants persist.
It’s been weeks since President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations was enacted, and migrants continue to be deported, with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) openly defying the order. The deportations come after a Texas judge blocked Biden’s executive order, but while it's unlikely to stand, migrants continue to be expelled from the U.S. while deliberations drag on in court.
In any case, migrant advocate groups, legislators, and immigrants themselves are questioning why ICE, a federally-funded entity in open defiance of the President's orders, is allowed to carry out deportations, which have been found to also disproportionately target Black migrants.
It’s the reason why, on Feb. 10, More than 50 Black immigrants and allies gathered to remember the Black immigrants who have been deported, especially during Black History Month, during which the higher rates of Black deportations have been exposed.
“This is not surprising and is inline with ICE’s history and track record of anti-Blackness and racism,” wrote a spokesperson for We Are Casa (CASA), one of the grassroots groups organizing the rally outside of the Martin Luther King Memorial at the Capitol.
Other organizers include Black immigrants from Sudan, Cameroon, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and other countries as well as African Communities Together (ACT), Haitian Bridge Alliance, NAKASEC, UndocuBlack Network, and UNITE HERE.
The rally kicks-off the Black Immigrant Advocacy Week of Action, fighting for visibility of often underreported Black deportations, and that ICE stop all deportations and release detainees to be reunited with their loved ones.
— African Communities Together (@AfricansUS) February 10, 2021
Their list of demands are as follows:
- End deportation flights and all deportations until a humane immigration system can be constructed
- Empty all detention centers, by releasing individuals into the community.
- Allow all pending claims before federal courts to be fully adjudicated and ensure that the members of our communities are afforded their due process rights, instead of forcing them to sign deportation papers.
- Announce extension of Temporary Protected Status for all relevant countries including Mauritania and Cameroon, in the interim Deferred Enforced Departure for Mauritania and Cameroon.
- Ensure that all those who’ve been unjustly deported have a right to return to the U.S. without and loopholes or roadblocks.
Refusing to comply with President Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations, ICE has garnered massive criticism, with a growing number of Congress members calling for the Department of Homeland Security to intervene.
In the late summer of 2020, accounts of horrific human rights violations suffered by Cameroonian immigrants at the hands of ICE surfaced, with a coalition of immigrant rights groups reporting asylum seekers were tortured and forced to approve their own deportations. Since the reports were first made, ICE’s actions haven’t subsided, even with the deportation moratorium.
These immigrants hail from countries like Haiti, Cameroon, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia. Many are also getting deported back to countries they have never been to.
Biden’s 100-day deportation moratorium was received as an encouraging first step to reform the U.S. immigration system, but flaws in the executive order process have since been exposed.
Specifically, the lack of enforcement that has allowed ICE to continue its agenda.
Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s pick to lead the DHS, has inherited a messy system, especially after it was found that Acting Secretary Chad Wolf had been holding the position illegally. Now, ICE continues the agenda of an administration that didn’t lawfully appoint a qualified leader of its efforts.
To this regard, the Black Caucus is urging Mayorkas to address its concerns, and investigate why ICE is proceeding to deport despite the moratorium.
Biden and his administration have promised reform, ICE’s deportations and ensuing rallies for justice show there is much left to answer for.