In an op-ed for Teen Vogue, Jung Woo Kim, who manages membership development for the Korean Resource Center and volunteers for National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), and Jonathan Jayes-Green, a queer undocumented Afro-Panamanian and a co-founder of the UndocuBlack Network, explain how Black and AAPI immigrants have been impacted by recent changes to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) policies in the United States.
President Donald Trump’s administration has championed a robust agenda of white nationalism. And when it comes to immigration, he is on the verge of succeeding.
We’ve felt the impact firsthand as Black and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) undocumented immigrants living with Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in September, to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and his plans to end the TPS program entirely.
There are over 190,000 Black and AAPI DACA-eligible young people living in America, and 300,000 TPS holders come from many Black and AAPI nations like Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Nepal. As the fight for immigration rages on, we continue to carry the burden of an emboldened mass deportation machine this administration is feeding and deploying into our communities. Some examples of this living nightmare include the rushed deportation of Somali immigrants currently held in detention in Florida and the targeting of Cambodian immigrants by ICE. All of this is happening within the context of the anti-Black racist sentiments fueling the increased targeting and deportation of Black immigrants when compared to other immigrant groups.
Black immigrants face particular danger from Trump’s actions as our current immigration system is already rooted deep in anti-Black racism. According to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration’s report with the New York University School of Law, DACA applicants from predominantly Black countries are less likely to be approved than other applicants. Black immigrants are also more likely to be deported: while Black immigrants make up only 7.2% of foreign-born non-citizens in the United States, they make up more than 20% of non-citizens facing deportation on criminal grounds. Black immigrants are also three times more likely to be arrested than any other immigrant group, a consequence of our nation’s shameful racist legacy of criminalizing blackness.
For AAPI communities, the racist implications of the administration’s rhetoric and policy are emerging through attacks on the current family-based immigration system, which drives the majority of immigration in the country, calling it “chain migration.” More specifically, AAPI families are facing the possible elimination of a system established in the 1960s to end previous racist national origin quotas that began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which heavily favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe.
Our communities are in a state of emergency. That is why we’ve joined forces to fight back.
In early December, we organized the first ever national joint day of action in Washington, D.C., with over 120 Black and AAPI immigrants — mostly undocumented young people and TPS holders. We came together to build intentionally between our communities and delivered close to 300,000 signatures to Congressional leaders in support of passing a clean Dream Act and a permanent solution for TPS.
Together, we’re lifting up Black and AAPI experiences in the immigration debate happening right now in Congress and across this nation. We’re committed to voicing our experiences and stressing the real impact and urgency for Congress to do their job and fix this man-made crisis.
Some in Congress and around the nation may believe this issue can wait until next year. But every day Congress fails to act, 122 DACA recipients lose their status and become eligible for deportation. Losing status and being caught in limbo takes a huge mental and emotional toll on our people and destabilizes our communities. Lawmakers need to act before the year comes to an end.
The DREAM Act would protect young people like us who migrated to the U.S. before the age of 18, are working, earn a high school diploma (or its equivalent), join the military, or satisfy a hardship exception. Passing it today would put an end to the tremendous fear and uncertainty we feel hour by hour, day by day.
People who believe in justice should join us by calling your members of Congress to demand they pass a clean Dream Act by the end of the year that also includes a permanent solution for TPS holders.
Trump’s anti-immigrant, nationalist agenda can be stopped if we all join the fight. The time to act is now.