Not just a Latinx issue: Black DREAMers have their lives on the line
With DACA in limbo, Black DREAMers grapple with a pandemic, nationwide police brutality protests, and deportation.
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Black undocumented immigrants are often overlooked, as Latinx individuals are primarily put at the center of the conversation, but undocumented issues are also Black issues.
Any day now, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
For Black DREAMers, there are many things to fear, with COVID-19’s disproportionate effects on Black and Latinx individuals, Black Lives Matter uprisings amid police violence, and reports of possible lynchings in California.
Now, the nights before Supreme Court decisions are particularly troubling, as any moment the lives of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants could change for the worse.
This week marked the eight-year anniversary of DACA, created by then-President Barack Obama. It coincides with the month the Supreme Court decides whether President Donald Trump can cancel the program.
There are no official statistics on DACA demographics, but there are likely thousands of Black people with status under the program, reported the Huffington Post. Around 11,000 DACA recipients came from countries where the majority of emigrants are Black.
Many Black immigrants are from Spanish-speaking countries, and eleven percent of the foreign-born Black population identifies as Hispanic.
According to a study by The Pew Research Center, the Dominican Republic accounts for 161,000 Black immigrants. Mexico accounts for roughly 70,000 Black immigrants, around 41,000 are from Cuba, and 32,000 are Panamanian.
This growing population of Black immigrants makes them a target for deportation.
While there is no evidence that Black immigrants commit crime at greater rates than others, studies show Black immigrants are disproportionately represented among immigrants facing deportation.
Black immigrants make up only 7.2% of the noncitizen population in the U.S., but make up 20.3% of immigrants facing deportation before the Executive Office for Immigration review (EOIR) on criminal grounds. This was found in a report by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
Despite the uncertainty, Black DREAMers are taking this time to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests.
A danger for undocumented immigrants is the presence of law enforcement from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) at some protests.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. The organization has been vocal on the threat issued on Black and Latinx immigrants through ICE and CBP’s presence at protests.
“A decision on DACA from the Supreme Court could come any day now, in a moment of courageous uprising. Black people and allies have taken to the streets to protest the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and more at the hands of police and to call for the defunding of the police force,” said United We Dream in a statement.
“ The same ICE and CBP that have been deployed on protesters across the country have been on the record saying that if the Supreme Court were to side with Trump, they would move towards deporting DACA recipients,” the statement continued.
Because of the danger of deportation, organizations have provided safety guides to undocumented protesters, as “this moment calls all of us into action.”
This moment calls all of us into action. There are many ways show up in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and against state violence.— Immigrant Justice Network (@ImmJustice) June 10, 2020
If you decide to protest in the streets or participate in jail support, here are some things to keep in mind. https://t.co/pvYhQ5WQTL pic.twitter.com/Lkn1x3eNXE
While the risks of deportation forces some to think twice before attending a protest, many Black individuals continue to fight despite the many factors against them.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on DACA by the end of June.