Newark’s Haitian and Black community leaders demand the US protect Black immigrants.

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Adam Rizvi, TIO, Newark, NJ :Today, Haitian and Black community leaders and supporters protested and rallied outside of the Federal Building, the location of the Newark ICE Field Office. Community leaders demanded the Biden administration stop deportations especially of Haitian migrants and Black asylum seekers, revoke the Trump-era Title 42 clause, protect Black immigrants by removing criminal bars from any legislative package for a pathway to citizenship, and restore the right to asylum.

The Biden administration has ignored calls to stop the deportation of about 10,000 Haitians and other Black asylum seekers. In the last month, the world has witnessed the largest mass expulsions of migrants in recent US history with 78 ICE deportation flights to Haiti since September 16th including at least two flights just this week. Additionally, over the last few weeks, we witnessed horrific images of US border patrol agents whipping Black migrants.

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Haitian and Black community leaders are calling on President Biden and the New Jersey congressional delegation to go beyond statements and initiate policies that work to support and protect Haitian and Black immigrants. Haitian and Black leaders demand:

  • End of all deportations especially those targeting Haitian and other Black immigrants
  • End to Title 42 and all forms of abusive racist expulsions crippling black communities across the US
  • A clear path to citizenship that includes all Black immigrants. Currently, every piece of legislation has language that will leave out Haitian migrants, and leaves immigrants in the US to face detention and deportation

Haitian New Jerseyans spoke out at the rally about witnessing the heartbreaking mistreatment of fellow Haitian and Black migrants urging President Joe Biden to end the deportations.

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Renel Pierre, Haitian immigrant and community leader with Faith in New Jersey said,

“…Throughout my years here, it has been very clear to me that my fellow compatriot Haitians do not have the same opportunity [that I did] to come here legally. It is heartbreaking to see what’s been happening at the border with the Haitian refugees, who are seeking asylum, better opportunities and to ultimately live the American dream. I stand here today as one of their voices demanding that the United States, specifically President Joe Biden, stop the deportation of Haitian refugees. [He must] end Title 42 and all forms of abusive, racist expulsions [that are] crippling Black communities across the U.S; restore the right to asylum; deliver on a clear pathway to citizenship that includes all Black immigrants.”

Haitian and Black faith leaders address the harsh conditions in Haiti and the need to affirm the humanity and human rights of Black migrants.

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Reverend Jean Maurice, New Jersey Haitian Pastors Association and member of Faith in New Jersey said, 

“The uncontrollable gang culture, the assassination of the president, and the deadly earthquake caused thousands of Haitians to migrate to South America and Central America. United States stakeholders must work with the diaspora and Haitians abroad to find practical solutions to these ongoing problems.”

Reverend Barry Wise II, Greater Mount Moriah Baptist Church, member of Faith in New Jersey said,

“As the struggle for immigrants’ rights comes to the forefront in America, it’s more important than ever that we lift up the experiences of Haitian and Black immigrants.  All too often, the multiple hardships of immigration status, language barriers, and the enduring stigma attached to Black bodies has not been reckoned with in meaningful ways by the American public.

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“Now is the time to fully affirm the God-given humanity of our black immigrant brothers and sisters from Haiti and across the African diaspora and push for policies that honor their human rights at every level of government with an equity-building path to citizenship, a return to allowing asylum seekers to enter the U.S., and the cessation of degrading deportation practices that ignore the imago dei of vulnerable immigrant families,” said Wise.

Advocates highlighted President Biden is visiting New Jersey where immigrant justice is a priority for voters and called on elected representatives to deliver on their promises to immigrant communities.

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Chia-Chia Wang, Advocacy and Organizing Director of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC-IRP) said,

“American Friends Service Committee has provided support and services for Haitians and Black migrants in detention centers and in communities for many years. Recent events in Haiti and at the border provided us much evidence that Haitians should not be deported and racism remains rampant in the US and within the government.

“We must hold the new Administration accountable and ensure Haitian and black migrants are not singled out and retaliated against in detention centers and deported, and are treated with dignity and respect.”

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Amy Torres, Executive Director of  New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) said,

“As President Biden heads to visit New Jersey on Monday, he needs to remember the promises he made to our communities in 2020. Naturalized immigrants comprise nearly 1 in 5 voting-age citizens here, making immigrant justice a kitchen table issue across the state.

“There is no immigrant justice without Black justice. NJAIJ condemns the Biden Administration’s callous and reckless indifference to the fate of Black migrants. New Jersey is home to the fourth-largest population of Haitians in the nation and home to a deep, diverse network of pan-African diaspora communities. Together with our members, NJAIJ calls on the Biden administration and our federal leaders to end Title 42, restore asylum, release those in ICE detention, and fight with renewed vigor to deliver their promise to provide 11 million immigrants with a pathway to citizenship,” said Torres.

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In the US, Black immigrants are more likely to be criminalized and face ICE deportation for a criminal offense than other races even with similar crime rates. While Black immigrants make up just 7 percent of the non-citizen population, they face over 20 percent of deportation proceedings based on criminal grounds alone due to the racial bias rooted in the crime migration system.

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

 

 

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