“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” – Emma LazarusThey are Black! They Are Beautiful! And, they too have a dream!
The current tension over protecting the dreamers is merely an extension of an historical conflict between those in America who support the sentiments espoused on the base of the Statue of Liberty and those who want a country that fulfills the most egregious desire of White Supremacists, to purge the country of non-white residents on their road to fulfilling their vision of an all-White America.
Last week, the nation bore witness when the president dispelled all doubt about the racist ideology that undergirds the agenda of his white house. Trump allegedly demanded to know during a White House meeting on immigration, why he should accept immigrants from “shithole” (Black) countries like Haiti or Africa–I’m not sure if the president realizes Africa is not a country but a continent—rather than White countries like Norway.
This was not the first time the president put his full racist attitude on display. The country saw it throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and again and again since he took office.
The president’s apparent attitude toward people of color is not only telling but also threatening to the hundreds of thousands of dreamers at risk of deportation since he ended DACA last September. Although the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Trump’s efforts to stymie the DACA program last week, the ultimate fate of the dreamers remains uncertain.
Amid the discussions on the probable racist ideology permeating the white house and the president’s implementation of obvious racist immigration policies that have resulted to date, there are nearly 3.7 million Black immigrants who account for about 8.4 percent of all immigrants—many of them from the very countries the president recently disparaged.
According to a report by the Center for American Progress, among the largest groups of Black immigrants, 48 percent are from the Caribbean, 43 percent from various African countries, and 3.6 percent from South America. Black immigrants also make up 25 percent of at least five major metropolitan areas including Boston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, and Seattle.
The president has also inferred that immigrants from countries like Norway are preferable. He never qualified that statement. However, if his preference is based on qualifications rather than race, we must assume he is unaware of the fact that Black immigrants have as high a rate of education and employment as any other group of immigrants.
For example, 29 percent of Black immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 30 percent from White nations, and at least 29 percent have some college or an associates degree compared to only 19 percent from other countries.
Another area where the president is ill informed is in regard to employment. The reality is that at least 73 percent of Black immigrants sixteen years of age and older are employed, compared to 67 percent of all immigrants and only 64 percent of those born in America.
Currently, there are about 11,000 Black immigrants under DACA protection, although the Migration Policy Institute has estimated there are 36,000 African immigrants eligible for the deferred action.
There are those who believe African Americans should not sit idly by on the issue of immigration. Make your voices heard on this issue. Call your congressman, attend a rally, raise your voice in this discussion.
As the president and his supporters continue to push their racist agenda, minorities can not afford to sit silent. We have learned from history—to be silent is to be complicit. We must speak out before silence morphs from complicity to something more sinister. As history has also taught us—silence, equals death.
You can reach your U.S. representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office. To find out the name of your representative, enter your zip code here: www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.Center for American Progress Note: Data analysis of 2016 American Community Survey 1-year public use microdata accessed via Steven Ruggles, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Josiah Grover, and Matthew Sobek, “Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 7.0” (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2017), available at https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V7.0. Labor force participation rates reflect the civilian, noninstitutionalized population.
Feature photo: Photo taken at a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony. (U.S. National Archives)Stephanie Williams, Features WriterStephanie E. Williams is an award winning investigative reporter, editor and activist who has contributed to several Inland Empire publications. Williams spent more than thirty years as a middle-manager in the telecommunications industry before retiring to pursue her passion as a reporter and non-fiction writer. Beyond writing, Williams’ personal interests include stone-carving, drumming and sculpting.