The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, (BAJI), a national network that advocates for Black immigrants, announced that it will fight President Donald Trump’s plans to restrict immigration of Africans to the United States from countries with large Muslim populations. Although most Americans think of immigrants as being from Mexico or South America, a growing number of immigrants are Black and are from Africa and the Caribbean. In 2015, a record 3.8 million Black immigrants now live in the United States, more than four times the number who lived here in 1980. Not all of these persons, however, are from a mostly Muslim country.
President Trump has issued an order barring citizens from seven countries with Muslim majorities from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. It also suspends the entry of refugees for 120 days. Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
As protestors demonstrate at major airports around the nation, legal actions have already begun. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly on Feb. 4 blocked the affects of the executive order on anyone who was stranded in U.S. airports because of it.
“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and other similarly situated violates their due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” Donnelly wrote in her decision, according to widespread news reports.
“The Black Alliance for Just Immigration is committed to preparing Black communities to defend against harmful policies, to building power amongst Black immigrant organizations nationwide and to working with our partners to fight back against this administration’s racist and xenophobic agenda,” said Tia Oso, National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, which has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Atlanta and Brooklyn, N.Y.
The alliance also said it would also fight President Trump’s attacks on sanctuary cities. A sanctuary city is one that has adopted a policy of protecting illegal immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally. On Feb. 1, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney General to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration law. He also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing weekly public reports that include “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
Opal Tometi, executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and co-founder of #Black Lives Matter, called Trump’s actions troubling. “Punishing cities for offering protection betrays the humanitarian value of offering a safe haven for the oppressed,” Tometi said, adding that some mayors of sanctuary cities said they will fight Trump’s order.
“We are going to fight this, and cities and states around the country are going to fight this,” Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, said at a news conference. “If sanctuary cities comply with Trump’s order, African immigrants and others who run afoul of the law can be handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security. Those arrested can be held in a prolonged state of displacement because many of the refugees here illegally are no longer welcome in their home countries.”