Black Lives Matter and Immigration: Unity in a Time of Despair
June 14, 2020 § 1 Comment
6/14/2020 by Casey White, Legal Assistant
In what seems like a revisitation to the Jim Crow Era, our country once again finds itself amidst a time of rampant racism, division, and hate. These particular diseases have permeated our country since its founding—long before COVID-19. However, the current growing number of Black people falling to police brutality, the current global pandemic, and the current administration’s goals of stoking the flames of racism and division have all magnified these systemic issues and have left the country in a volatile state.
Unfortunately, just like their Black brothers and sisters, immigrants are increasingly experiencing the effects of racism and oppression in this country. It is important to recognize that though Black people and immigrants face separate and incomparable issues within their communities, immigrant oppression and Black oppression are often intersectional. We must not forget that much of the U.S. immigrant population is Black or African American.
In addition to the recent killings of several Black Americans by police force, both the Black community and the immigrant community have been devastated by COVID-19. Both communities have seen disproportionate numbers of people contracting COVID-19. In fact, COVID-19 has ravaged immigrant detainment centers all across the nation. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has taken a firm grip on immigration—using the virus to halt immigration indefinitely; enforce draconian immigration policy; and drive home the racist narrative that immigrants are “animals,” “bring disease” into this country, and are a threat to our economy.
Another resurfacing narrative that is being used to pin the Black population directly against the immigrant population is that immigrants contribute to job loss in the United States and take jobs away from Black people. There is no consensus of evidence proving that immigration is the direct reason for job loss among the Black community. We must not lose focus: the issues among the Black community come from many different systems in the U.S. that are inherently racist—immigrants are not the problem, nor should they be the focus. Racism and poverty are complex issues that are caused and influenced by multiple factors, and no one thing such as curbing immigration can solve these problems overnight.
Fueling racist and divisive narratives and pinning minorities against one another is dangerous and will lead to further conflicts and social unrest in our country. Judging people by the color of their skin or where they come from must be a thing of the past. If our country truly wants to move forward and address its injustices, it must do so in a welcoming and united front.
Our nation is a melting pot of diverse peoples—that is what makes it so great. Our long journey towards a more perfect union continues. The good news: it appears as though we have reached a pivotal moment in which the people of this country are breaking the silence and saying ‘enough is enough.’ Americans are ready to be vocal and stand up for love, unity, and justice—and in the end, love, unity, and justice always prevail.