Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Kevin Johnson and I have written about the need for a joint effort by immigrants and African Americans to lead a new civil rights movement. See The Immigrant Marches of 2006 and the Prospects for a New Civil Rights Movement, 42 HARV. CIV. RIGHTS-CIV. LIB. L. REV. 99 (2007). We recognize the attempt by anti-immigrant forces to divide people of color over immigration issues.
An impressive effort to challenge this divisive strategy took place this past weekend in Baltimore with the formation of the Black Immigration Network. Eric Ward discusses the network and its goals at Imagine 2050:
The hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has used dubious data to argue that economically immigrants negatively impact U.S. born black families. Like most of FAIR’s assertions these bigoted myths were debunked by Steven Pitts at the UC-Berkeley Labor Center, who in his presentation to BIN, showed that in a study of metropolitan areas there was no correlation between black employment and immigrant populations. “Racial discrimination in employment, anti-union organizing and poor education are the major barriers to U.S. born blacks having access to jobs,” said Somali organizer and executive director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing Kayse Jama. “Black immigrants and refugees have a special responsibility to demand an end to structural racism that seeks to disenfranchise U.S.-born blacks,” Jama said.