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BAJI: The Dream and Promise Act is Anti-Black

BAJI: The Dream and Promise Act is Anti-Black

Last month, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act. The Dream and Promise Act provides permanent protections to certain immigrant youth and young adults (commonly known as ‘Dreamers’) and the 400,000 adults here with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The criminal bars in the Dream and Promise Act reinforce the racist US carceral system. Black people with one felony, three misdemeanors, or who have been accused of gang involvement will be rejected from the Dream and Promise Act outright. The current surge of immigration bills being introduced, supported, and glorified prioritize the policing and criminalization of Black people as the primary trade-off for the path to citizenship. In short, these bills are anti-Black. We denounce these immigration bills because we seek justice for Black people.

Like all Black people in America, Black immigrants are over-represented from arrest rates to sentencing. 76 % of Black Immigrants are deported because of contact with the police. For fifteen years BAJI has been raising the alarm on the criminal bars still abiding in the 1996 immigration laws that center the role of the carceral state that effortlessly separates, excludes, and expels Black people from communities.

It is hurtful that our allies would push these immigration policies while acknowledging the devastating impact of the racist criminal legal system that targets and kills Black people. 

In the course of President Biden’s political career, he has designed and endorsed policies that have harmed Black people. He has supported, authored, and championed laws that expanded mass incarceration, increased police powers, and exacerbated racial disparities in surveillance and sentencing. We are not surprised but amazed that his policies continue to break apart Black communities. President Biden, who has said that Black people ‘brung him to the dance’, needs to immediately address anti-Blackness in his policies and its devastating impact on Black lives in the United States.

It saddens us that the visionary work of human rights activists for the last few decades has yielded no new vision in the immigrant rights movement.  It is time to rethink the archaic criminal provisions frequently included in federal immigration legislation and instead focus on modern community-led, transformative solutions that improve our lives and communities. We need restorative policies that are rooted in human rights and human dignity. BAJI will continue to chart a new course for racial and immigrant justice in this country centered on the critical needs and demands of Black people regardless of their citizenship or conviction.