Monday, 11 May 2015

African Lives Matter and Migrant Rights

Author's Note: the words migration and immigration are used sporadically throughout the article. Both words aren't meant to be used interchangeably since each word has completely different context and meaning in the U.S., Europe and Africa.

BAJI: Transformation Solidarity Webinar-Why Migrant Rights must show up for Black Lives Matter

BAJI or Black Alliance for Just Immigration, is a migrant and human rights organization based in Brooklyn, New York with local offices and activists across the United States. BAJI has fought for the human rights of African Americans, African, Caribbean and Latinos in the United States and around the world. Understanding the long standing injustices, racism, inequalities that exist worldwide whether it be economic, financial or political, African Americans and the African Diaspora have worked together to fight against anti-African systemic racism and exclusive institutions that scapegoats Latino, African and Caribbean migrants in United States and Europe.

When discussions of immigration (legal and illegal) come up in the United States, Caribbean and African migrants are often left out of the conversation or ignored completely with the debate solely focused on Mexican and Central American migration. However, South America and most of Asia are also absent from the immigration discussion. Exception being China and Phillipines. The stereotypical immigrant image in the United State is either Mexican or Central American woman, man or child. Many people do not know that there are also over 100+ million Afro-Latinos living across the Americas including the Caribbean.

Frontiers of Racism

What does racism & White Supremacy have to do with Immigration?

Occasionally Cuban migrants will be mentioned alongside Cuba-United States relations going back before the Cuban Revolution. Where Cubans fleeing their home country is concerned, the United States has a long standing Dry feet, wet feet policy that reeks of bias when Haiti, Cuba's next door neighbor figures into play. Haitian immigrants who arrive to Florida via migrant boats are often denied the fast track to permanent residency and same special protections given to Cuban migrants. Many Haitians have been turned away by U.S. Coast guards or drowned before reaching the U.S. shores which is 90 miles away from Haiti. There is a straightforward political bias to Cuban migrants' special treatment vs Haitians. The Wet feet, Dry Feet policy is unique to the United States and rarely exist anywhere else. 

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