CLARKE LEADS LETTER TO ADMINISTRATION URGING RELIEF FOR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) led 65 of her colleagues in a letter to the Biden-Harris Administration urging the Administration prioritize much-needed relief for immigrant communities, particularly those from African and Caribbean diasporas. The letter highlights the moral imperative to address the challenges faced by Black migrants and families and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. It further calls on the Administration to exercise existing legal authorities to bestow TPS designations and redesignations for Caribbean and African countries, protect DACA recipients under threat of the courts, and address the unacceptably long green card and work permit backlogs.
“Ours is a nation of immigrants, and diversity will always be our country’s strength. Our willingness to accept newcomers into our nation is a key component of our global influence and soft power,” wrote the Members. “It is imperative we prioritize comprehensive immigration reform, so we can address the inequities faced by Black immigrants within our immigration system. We must foster our immigration system which upholds the values of justice, fairness, inclusiveness, and compassion.”
“From the cruel policies and rhetorical tactics of extremist GOP politicians to the enduring racial inequities permeating our immigration system, Black immigrants – despite their strong ties to our communities and contributions to the economy – continue to face great uncertainty about their future in the country,” said Sergio Gonzales, Executive Director of Immigration Hub. ”That’s why we are thankful to Representative Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for calling on President Biden to use all the tools at his disposal to provide immediate relief and protections for our nation’s immigrants. We join these members of Congress in urging the Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status for those who cannot return to their home country because of unsafe conditions and to streamline existing processes for immigrant families and workers – including Dreamers who are stuck in legal limbo – to allow them to continue to live and work in the nation they call home without the fear of deportation. These policy actions will help keep families together, strengthen our economy, and fortify America’s commitment to those seeking safety and freedom.”
“As a member-led organization that represents more than 70,000 Black asylum seekers from around the world, ASAP is proud to join Rep. Yvette Clarke in urging the Biden administration to address processing delays and backlogs in the asylum system impacting Black asylum seekers and broaden grants of Temporary Protected Status,” said Leidy Perez, Policy Director at the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP). “It’s important to recognize that Black migrants face additional barriers when seeking asylum both at the Mexico-U.S. border and once in the United States.”
“We urge President Biden to embrace Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for African countries, recognizing it as a significant opportunity to enhance the US-African partnership and to make direct investments in the Nigerian community already residing in the United States. We call for equal treatment and the extension of the same level of humanitarian considerations that have been extended to other regions across the globe to also be granted to the African continent,” said Gbenga Ogunjimi, Founder & CEO of Nigerian Center.
“By not taking action to address the specific barriers that Black immigrants face when seeking immigration relief, the administration is not only upholding the inequities that exist throughout many of the programs, but championing the continued silence around the experiences of the country’s fastest-growing immigrant population. Our communities need vigilance and cannot afford to bear the burden of an immigration system that continues to deprioritize them. We join Congresswoman Clarke in urging President Biden to advance policies that promote immigration relief for Black immigrants and transform our system into one that lives up to the values of this nation,” said Diana Konaté, Policy Director at African Communities Together.
Reps. Adams, Allred, Barragan, Beatty, Blumenauer, Bowman, Brown (Shontel), Bush, Carson, Carter (Troy), Casar, Castor, Castro, Cherfilus-McCormick, Chu, Cleaver, Crockett, Escobar, Espaillat, Evans, Garcia (Jesus), Goldman, Horsford, Ivey, Jackson (Jonathan), Jackson Lee, Jacobs, Jayapal, Johnson (Hank), Lee (Barbara), Lee (Summer), Lofgren, McClellan, McGovern, Meng, Mfume, Moore, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Payne, Plaskett, Pocan, Pressley, Ramirez, Ruppersberger, Sanchez, Schakowsky, Sewell, Smith (Adam), Soto, Strickland, Thompson (Bennie), Tlaib, Torres (Ritchie), Veasey, Velazquez, Waters, Watson Coleman, Williams (Nikema), Wilson (Frederica) also signed the letter.
The letter has received support from The Immigration Hub, African Communities Together, UndocuBlack, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Border Network for Human Rights, FWD.us, National Immigrant Justice Center, Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP), Nigerian Center, African Public Affairs Committee, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Church Women United in New York State, Wilco Justice Alliance, International Institute of New England, United Nigerian American Council – MD, GoodLife Church, Inc., NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, National Empowerment Advocacy and Humanitarian Foundation (LEAH), Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP), and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
The text of the letter is available here.