By Frederick H. Lowe
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, 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 everyone, however, is from a mostly Muslim country.
President Trump is expected to sign such an order either today or tomorrow either preventing or reducing the number of refugees from Libya, Somalia, Sudan and other countries with large Muslim populations from moving to the United States in addition to making it more difficult for those who already live here, according to Tia Oso, National Organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, which has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif.; Atlanta and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, said the restrictions also could apply to residents from Yemen, an Arab country in Western Asia.
A draft of the document would ban for 30 days immigrants and non-immigrants from the the listed countries, according to various news reports.
“The Black Alliance for Just Immigration is committed to preparing black communities to defend against their 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,” Oso added.
The Alliance also said it would fight President Trump’s attacks on sanctuary cities. A sanctuary city is a city 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 Wednesday, President Donald 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.
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.