Black Women’s Blueprint Stands in Support of DACA and Demands an Immediate Cease and Desist of the Threat of Deportation of All Immigrant Women.
On Tuesday September 5th, the current Administration issued a statement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which has benefited 800,000 immigrants over the course of 5 years and is a continuation of attacks on communities of color from the current Administration. DACA, initiated in 2012 through executive order by President Obama, served as a way for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to obtain a work permit, continue their education and defer deportation or removal proceedings under the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. DACA does not grant legal citizenship status to individuals, does not provide any such pathway for citizenship and must be renewed every two years. Additionally, DACA continues the longstanding, discriminatory idea of a meritocracy, which grants a “privileged” status to those who “work hard” and assimilate into a white supremacist, capitalist system and is accessible mainly only to those who are able to pay a $465 fee every two years for renewal.
Black Women’s Blueprint not only denounces this political move by the Administration as an act of cruelty, rooted in white supremacy, we are painfully aware of the need to call attention to the erasure of Black immigrant women, and survivors from the narrative around immigration.
Black immigrants, while largely left out of the broad immigration narrative, account for 7% of the undocumented immigrant population. Black immigrant women survivors of violence are particularly at risk as the criminalization of immigrant communities continues to grow. Mirroring the disproportionate impact of policing in Black communities on incarceration rates, Black immigrants make up 20% of legal proceedings for deportation, often due to low level misdemeanors or trumped up charges based on discriminatory policing practices. The increased threat of deportation, including the longstanding discriminatory and biased policing of Black communities and the calls for ICE agents to work even closer with local law enforcement decreases a survivor’s likelihood of reporting violence that they experience in their homes or places of work. Furthermore, survivors who are undocumented and whose harm-doer is a U.S. citizen or holds a green card are at increased risk of their harm-doer using citizenship status as a means of control and violence.
The increase in vulnerability manifests in economic insecurity as well. According to a 2011 study by the Economic Policy Institute, Caribbean women earn 8.3% less than U.S. born non-Hispanic white women with Haitian women earning 18.6% less; African women earn 10.1% less (BAJI, 2016). There can be no talk of meaningful immigration reform or policy without looking at the very real ways that the current economic system erases the labor of Black immigrant women, putting us at increased risk of violence and exploitation.
Furthermore, deportation can cost Black immigrant women their lives. Black immigrant women who have come into the U.S. through the U or T visa program are fleeing violence from their home countries. The threat of those women returning home to certain death is unconscionable.
What happens now?
There is a six month period before DACA is completely rescinded. During this time, it is imperative that we put pressure on Congress to pass immigration policy that provides a meaningful pathway to citizenship in a ways that decriminalizes Black and brown communities and addresses the root causes of displacement.
March With Us
Black Women’s Blueprint not only stands in support of DACA, but calls for the increased processing of U and T visas. We call on the passage of the 2017 DREAM Act, and we call for an end to the criminalization of Black and brown bodies on the basis of immigration status. We are calling on our comrades, our allies, our sisters in the struggle to March with us on September 30th, to rise with us, to use our voices collectively to demand an end to the threat of deportation for all Black women so that we can stop living in fear and start living in freedom.