All Articles Tagged "immigration"
While the world tells Rachel Dolezal that she is justified in her make-believe Blackness, and while many in the Black community continue to go extra hard in the paint defending their white Nubian Afro-centric goddess, thousands of Haitians are having their right to be considered Dominicans stripped away from them, and none of us have a got-damn thing to say about it.
What I’m talking about is the mass deportations, which officially begin today in the Dominican Republic.
According to the New York Times:
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the latest in a series of actions by the government that have cast a light on the country’s long-troubled relationship with its Haitian neighbors.
Undocumented workers in the Dominican Republic had until Wednesday to register their presence in the country, in the hope of being allowed to stay.
The government says nearly 240,000 migrant workers born outside the Dominican Republic have started the registration process. But there are an estimated 524,000 foreign-born migrant workers in the country — about 90 percent of whom are Haitian, according to a 2012 survey — leaving a huge population of migrants at risk of deportation.
Many of those migrant workers slave away in poor conditions at privately-owned sugar cane plantations throughout the country. They are also often the subject of brutal discrimination in a country that favors lighter skin and other features that are more akin to people of European descent. According to the Times, aggression against the Haitians peaked back in 2013 when the government attempted to strip citizenship from children born to Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic as far back as 1929. The Times also reports:
Some advocates worry that the mechanism to identify potential deportees will be to target any dark-skinned people suspected of being of Haitian descent, whether they have papers or not.
“There are no adequate screening mechanisms,” said Angelita K. Baeyens, the programs director at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
As to why this is happening, many human rights experts have suggested that the DR’s many attempts at mass deportations of Haitians has more to do with the nation’s long-standing racial hatred of darker-skinned people than actual concerns about immigration. As the Washington Post reported:
There was a time when that split between the two countries was drawn with blood; the 1937 Parsley Massacre is widely regarded as a turning point in Haitian-Dominican relations. The slaughter, carried out by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, targeted Haitians along with Dominicans who looked dark enough to be Haitian — or whose inability to roll the “r” in perejil, the Spanish word for parsley, gave them away.
The Dajabón River, which serves as the northernmost part of the international border between the two countries, had “risen to new heights on blood alone,” wrote Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat.
“The massacre cemented Haitians into a long-term subversive outsider incompatible with what it means to be Dominicans,” according to Border of Lights, an organization that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the massacre in 2012.
And as one legal expert stated:
“We’ve called it as such because there are definitely linkages,” she told The Washington Post this week. “You don’t want to look a few years back and say, ‘This is what was happening and I didn’t call it.’ ”
If you get nothing else from this piece, I hope that it makes you think about the imbalance in who does and who does not get to transcend race in this world. White people can lay claim to just about anything. Hell, there are likely a bunch of White Europeans laying up on the sandy beaches for years as “expats” in the Dominican Republic. I highly doubt that they are looked at with suspicion or told that they are not welcome there.
However, throughout history, it is the darker-skinned among us who are always told that they are not welcome – into countries, into cultures and into Whiteness (or anything close to it). That includes in America, the Dominican Republic and in South Africa, where Africans are being assaulted and deported by their brethren. Yet the descendants of those who robbed them of their land and forced them into apartheid get to keep their citizenship. Signing petitions and boycotting tourism in the Dominican Republic, along with products made from the Dominican Republic, are great short-term solutions. But until we as a global community stop valuing Whiteness and using it as a currency to institute boundaries and borders, darker-skinned people will always suffer.
“We’re starting to reach out more to the African-American community,” said Robert Jones, leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Yes, you read right — the Ku Klux Klan. The White supremacy group is calling upon the Black community and other groups that it traditionally slurred, rejected and terrorized to join the Loyal White Knights in its efforts against undocumented immigrants who are coming to America. This includes communities in Atlanta, Orange County, California, and South Carolina.
The KKK is seemingly veering away from their “White power” slogan and pushing their infamous “Keep America American” doctrine: Undocumented immigrants are their newest target.
“We think our government should step in and do a whole lot more to secure our borders. All our jobs are being outsourced right now, and what jobs are left here, black and white Americans are being forced to have a competition with the Mexicans coming across the border, because they’ll do the job cheaper,” Jones said.
The KKK is changing up recruitment tactics, too. Epitomizing irony, Jones says that the KKK are deliberately visiting random households — disregarding race, religion, and creed — because they don’t want to be seen as “racist”. In some places, they’re handing out candy:
“I mean, we can’t tell who lives in a house, whether they’re black, white, Mexican, gay, we can’t tell that. And if you were to look at somebody’s house like that, that means you’d be pretty much a racist,” the KKK leader said.
Oh, and get this — Jones says that the KKK are opening up their historically racially violent doors to the Black community.
“We’re starting to see the whites and African-Americans waking up to this illegal immigration problem. We’re starting to reach out more to the African-American community and talk to them about the same issues, and they’re agreeing with the Klan that illegal immigration needs to stop.”
Mark Potok, a White spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Centers, calls B.S. on the KKK leader’s statement:
“The idea that black people are somehow flocking to the Klan or the Klan’s message because the Klan is critical of undocumented immigration is simply false. It’s a claim that is made as part of the Klan’s general claim that they’re more of a friendly neighborhood watch group that hates no one and is merely proud of white heritage.”
The KKK, which has more than 85,000 members, is advocating for one extreme solution for illegal immigration: A shoot to kill policy along the border.
“You’re spending billions of dollars in Texas, but we’ve a problem here in Chicago,” an angry Windy City protester said. Black Chicago residents just can’t fathom why Obama would plan to spend a whopping $3.7 billion on illegal immigration, but ignore what they feel is a more pressing issue — senseless violence in “Chi-raq,” Washington Times reports.
Last week, MadameNoire reported Chicago’s deadly July 4th weekend: At least five dozen people were hit by gunfire. Fed up with the government’s inaction with Chi-town’s bloodshed, hundreds of South side residents took to the streets and rallied against Obama’s controversial illegal immigration proposal.
“For the president to set aside all of these funds for immigrants and [have] forsaken the African-American community, I think that’s a disgrace,” one Chicagoan told Rebel Pundit. “He will go down as the worst president ever elected. Bill Clinton was the African-American president.”
According to ABC News, there’s been an upsurge of illegal unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. To band-aid the crisis, Obama is asking for $3.7 billion. The plan will include funding for Border Control agents, care facilities for children while in custody, air surveillance, and more. But some residents believe Obama’s got his priorities warped:
“President Barack needs to pay attention to Chicago, if he can not pay attention to Chicago and the African-American community, he needs to resign,” a protester said.
The demonstration, which was held in front of the city’s police department headquarters, was prompted by the fatal shooting of Jasmine Curry, a pregnant woman of five. Curry’s father, Pierre, attended the event and said that less than a year ago, he was forced to bury his 17-year-old son. Once again, due to Chicago’s senseless violence, Pierre must mourn the loss of his daughter.
Jasmine is one of the 26 people killed in Chicago this July.
“I’d like to tell the young people out here, especially young African-Americans, I’d like to tell the world, Mr. President, congress, senate, aldermen, governor, the mayor–losing a child is something else, losing something that God gave to you, and some fool in the street took it, he didn’t have a right to take my son or my daughter from her five kids,” Curry said, according to Rebel Pundit.
Chicago residents aren’t the only ones bewildered by Obama’s illegal immigration request. African Americans from Houston to Baltimore say young Black Americans and unaccompanied, undocumented minors experience similar destructive environments. So why isn’t Obama addressing the Black community, too?
“My children cannot play outside,” a Black Baltimore resident told AllVoices. “Where can I get asylum? Where can I get refugee status? Nobody cares what happens to my children.”
“It’s not right. Now billions of dollars want to be borrowed from the White House to help feed and house them,” Lancelin said. “What about the (expletive) kids here?” a Houston resident asked.
Supporters behind Obama’s immigration funding believe that Americans have a moral, if not legal, obligation to care for these children who have come alone to our borders. And there’s the larger question of the need for comprehensive immigration policy, which might not directly impact the black community, but is critical nonetheless.
What do you think?
And for more about the gun violence in Chicago, watch the Moguldom Studios film “Gunland,” available here.
‘He Acted Like A Single Man:’ Mother Of Swizz Beatz’s Daughter, Jahna Sebastian, Offers Clarity On Their Affair
A few weeks ago we told you about London-based recording artist and mother to Kaseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean’s daughter, Jahna Sebastian. In a telling interview, Jahna argued that her daughter, Nicole, was not the reason for Swizz’s split from Mashonda because she made sure that she did not reveal that she’d given birth to Swizz’s child until after the troubled couple announced their divorce. Since our initial report, many of you still had questions regarding the logic behind Jahna’s decision, what prompted her to even sleep with a married man and how she can say that things are “all good” with the producer’s now-ex-wife. We were recently given the opportunity to chat with Jahna, who offered answers to some of your burning questions.
“I don’t want to be associated with those women who look out for a rich man, a baller or any other successful man to help them have an easy ride in life,” the singer/songwriter told me. “That behavior is totally the opposite of who I am and what I represent, I have always chosen to get what I want through hard work myself, even though there have always been great men around. I have always relied on myself. I work hard for my career and my child.”
Unlike the way it is now, the single mother explained that her former lover’s personal life was nowhere near as publicized as it now at the time of their relationship. In fact, Jahna says that his personal life was so under the radar in the UK, that she had no idea he was even married.
“I was not aware of him being married at the time, I thought he was single like myself and he acted like a single man,” the “I Am Free” singer explained. “He was not that well-known here anyway at that time, his private life was nowhere near as publicized in 2007 as it is now.”
“I don’t really follow other musicians lives anyway. I saw this as a meeting of equals,” she resolved before revealing that their affair had taken place prior to her learning of his marital status. “I found out that he was married after things had already happened, but it was too late.”
Shortly after this major revelation, Kaseem returned to the States and Jahna received more shocking news.
“He left to US and I was absolutely shocked to learn a few weeks later that I was pregnant as I did not plan to have children until the age of thirty and definitely not to be a single mother in a situation like that. Career, marriage, then children – in that particular order – was my plan. When things happen not as you planned, the only explanation to that is fate. A child is a blessing regardless.”
On top of learning that she would be bringing a child into the world alone, the Russian refugee was detained during her pregnancy due to immigration issues. However, instead of reaching out to Kaseem for help, she went through the process alone out of her refusal to destroy his marriage.
“When I was unlawfully detained for two months by a major mistake of the Home Office while being pregnant with Nicole, I came out of it without her father’s help or even child support at the time even though I knew from the start who the father was. If I made claims at that time, it would have created a scandal all over the place and caused the divorce, so I chose the hard way. I dealt with all my immigration problems which were actually Nicole’s as well since she could only stay in UK as my dependent, without bothering Swizz or anyone on the other side with lawsuits.”
“I wrote to every person in UK I could think of instead of sending lawyers to Swizz and destroying his marriage. I chose to go without child support for two years and the help of someone who could have easily resolved the situation with his connections.”
“My immigration case was publicized at the time but there wasn’t even one mention of his name, although with that situation it could have made even bigger headlines, but I had to save my child from becoming possible reason of the divorce. I clearly imagined how it would hurt to be in a position of a wife learning that her husband went and had a baby on the side, and so I stayed away from this.”
From The Grio
Amira Ali stood nervously in the Denver International Airport, waiting to meet the daughter she hadn’t seen in 24 years.
“America saved my life,” said Ali, who arrived in the U.S. decades ago after fleeing Sudan. “I’m very happy. It’s good day for me.”
Suddenly, a shriek in the distance: her daughter Tina Deng, now 30, had spotted Ali and was running toward her. They embraced, and sobbed. Soon, Ali would also meet the grandchildren she never knew she had.
“God bless America, and God bless my kids,” Ali said, overjoyed.
Until recently, Ali thought her daughter Tina, her sister and her mother had all died in Sudan’s civil war. But when they discovered each other on Facebook, everything changed. After living separate lives for so many years, they finally reunited this week in Colorado.
“I’m so very, very happy,” said Deng as she hugged her mother. “It’s a long time, my mom is like a dream and now I see her, I can’t believe. But I’m happy.”
As a young mother, Ali had fled her southern Sudanese village during a raid by local rebels. In the chaos Ali lost track of her mother, sister, and 6-year-old daughter, Tina. After walking through the desert for four days with one of her other children, Ali finally reached a refugee camp. Her family was one of many torn apart by the war in Sudan which has killed 2 million people.
Read more about this mother and daughter story at TheGrio.com
Just the other day I was visiting Clutch reading about racism in Egypt. Apparently, black Egyptians whether immigrants or Nubians (the native people of Egypt) feel they are often face discrimination. I found that particularly disheartening because not only had I just visited Egypt and been assured, by Arab Egyptians, that such a thing didn’t exist there; it also seemed that if there were one place in the world where racism wouldn’t be an issue, it would be in Egypt. After all, there is undeniable proof that the ancient Egyptians who were able to accomplish astounding feats, even by today’s standards, were black. But alas, they still endure racism. It makes you wonder, as one Clutch commenter mentioned, is there any place in the world where black people aren’t demonized? (I’ll let you think on that one.)
So, I guess it’s no surprise that Italy’s first black minister, Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, would also experience racism.
As we’ve reported before, Kyenge has been a target of racism since her appointment in April. But it all came to a head when Kyenge, a woman born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was giving a speech on a campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.
This campaign has angered several members of a right-winged group called Forza Nuova. At the site of the rally the group left mannequins covered in fake blood. They were protesting Kyenge’s efforts to make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.
Pamphlets that contained the phrase “Immigration Kills” also accompanied the dummies.
While Kyenge was speaking the group threw bananas that missed the stage.
Kyenge responded to the racially motivated incident on Twitter, calling it sad and a waste of food. She also said, “The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions.”
Several of Kyenge’s colleagues stepped forward to publicly condemn the actions as well.
The Veneto region governor, Luca Zaia had this to say:
“Throwing bananas, personal insults … acts like these play no part in the civilized and democratic discussion needed between the minister and those who don’t share her opinion,”
Make no mistake, though acts of racism are nothing new for blacks living all over the world, we still have a right and a duty even to be outraged by these heinous incidents.
Last night, President Obama gave the first State of the Union address of his second term (we live tweeted it here) and he raced through a number of big issues that he’d like to see Congress act on in the coming months. One of those issues, and possibly most unexpected, was a higher minimum wage.
But there were others that will be up for debate — among Congresspeople and voters alike. Here, we outline nine of the big ones. And in the comments, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and debate. That’s democracy at work!
Coming to a new country and starting over is difficult for anyone. In her new memoir Finally Reid: The Extraordinary Testimonies of an Ordinary Woman, Marcia Reid recounts her journey from Jamaica to the US in the early 1980s. Since then, she’s traveled around the world, graduated from college, and launched a career that has her now working for IPG, one of the world’s hugest advertising, marketing, and public relations companies.
We sent Reid a few questions via email to get a little more insight into her life and times.
Madame Noire: You talk about your life in Jamaica as a relatively carefree one. You worked, shopped, made friends. Yet you decided to come to the US to work and study in New York. Why?
Marcia Reid: There were several reasons for coming to the US. Number one was the socio-economic reason. In Jamaica, the US was known as the “Land of Opportunity” where you have limitless career opportunities and can gain financial wealth at a faster pace. I got the opportunity to shop even more, and it was easier to pursue a college degree here. It was also an excellent opportunity to get away from my very strict upbringing.
MN: It was 1982. What was the experience like coming to the US from Jamaica at 22 years old at that time?
MR: It was amazing, exciting, and scary. Everything was huge and complex compared to what I was accustomed to on a small island. This was the first time I left home and had no directions or money. I spent most of the money I had within two weeks of my arrival. It was the end of August and I went on a shopping spree, not knowing that the reason that clothes were inexpensive was because the season was changing. I soon found out that most of the clothes that I bought could only be worn for another month or so, as it was getting colder. I had not even bought a winter coat, so I needed to find a job real fast.
As I pounded the pavement of New York City daily in search of a job, I soon realized that without the “New York experience” and the coveted green card, the only jobs available to me included house cleaning, baby sitting, or posing nude. In my book, I write about staying with a friend’s mother, sleeping on a pull-out bed in her living room and how I was eventually able to find a great opportunity at a luxury cruise line.
MN: By 1989, you were a mom, had traveled the world, were married and separated, owned an apartment, and had decided to focus on your college studies while working full-time. How did all of that help (or hinder) your focus on your studies?
MR: While all of this made it extremely challenging at the time, I became very focused on my studies. My son was born in 1989 and my life was spinning out of control. I was separated, buried under a mountain of debt and trying to balance motherhood, work and school. It was especially difficult, as I was going to school full-time and working full-time but I was determined to stay focused on my studies. I knew that a college degree would be advantageous to advancing my career so that I could be in a better financial position and provide a better future for my child.
MN: By the end of the book, you’ve got degrees from New York University and Columbia University and you’ve moved from Florida back to the New York area. You’re now the Director of Diversity Management at IPG. Please describe your job and the challenges of promoting diversity at a large company.
MR: My role as Director of Diversity and Inclusion is to help my company become one of the most diverse and inclusive companies operating in business. This is a commitment that IPG takes very seriously, and I work closely with our HR and business leaders across our network of agencies and corporate offices to develop and execute programs that focus on recruitment, retention and development. I help educate our employees about the changing demographics and its impact on our business, our workforce, and our marketplace. I work closely with our Business Resource Groups in the U.S. as well as the Women’s Leadership Networks in Australia, India, China and London. I also launched a mentoring program, lead a fellowship program of young professionals, manage our relationships with schools, and oversee our annual Diversity and Inclusion survey that goes out to all our US employees.
MN: How do your life experiences impact how you perform your job?
MR: My life experiences make me passionate about the work that I do. I can better relate to employees that are similar or different from me in the workplace because of my diverse background. I understand some of the challenges they face and can provide more suitable solutions and resources to create a more inclusive work environment, where everyone can feel engaged and perform at their best to achieve our goal.
In the past three, going on four years, you may have noticed something. President Obama can handle it. By it I mean everything his job as President of the United States entails and all the extra, unwarranted, latently or blatantly racist foolishness that goes with it.
Initially, I too became incensed when the President was openly disrespected. Listening to Rep. Joe Wilson call him a liar in the middle of his healthcare speech, watching as “birthers” and Donald Trump demanded that he produce his birth certificate after he was well into his first term, and seeing a protester interrupt his commencement speech at Notre Dame was enough to make my blood pressure rise. Not only would this have been disrespectful for any layperson to experience, but this inexcusable behavior was being directed at the President of the United States. A president the American people elected.
I couldn’t find solace in the situation until I read an article about the president and his mother in the New York Times. It was a very detailed piece, but the part that stuck out to me was this:
“After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball “with unseen players,” Bryant said. Ann [his mother] did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s O.K.,” Ann said. “He’s used to it.”
Reading that paragraph was my “aha moment.” After that article, I came to understand, with calming clarity, that President Obama was meant for this. Not only was he meant for it, he is capable of handling the pressures, the criticisms, the racism and the outright disrespect that comes with it.
But notice I said he can handle it; I, on the other hand, cannot.
Even though I continuously refer to that paragraph to keep myself from popping a blood vessel, incidences like yesterday’s exchange on an Arizona tarmac send me spiraling down that dark hole.
I woke up this morning to news that yet another form of disrespect had been hurled at the president, this time from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
The president and Brewer already have a rocky relationship because of a book she wrote. In it she says that the president lectured her when she met with him to discuss the Arizona immigration law in 2010.
Yet, Brewer asked to meet with him again and a white house official said: “He’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book.”
As far as we know there is no record of their conversation on the tarmac yesterday, but Brewer and reports mention that her book might have been the point of contention.
Fine, whatever. What gets me about the whole thing is what Brewer said to reporters:
“I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had, because I was there to welcome him.”
Colombian officials had a change of heart and have now released 15-year-old Jakadrien Lorece Turner, the Dallas teenager who was mistakenly deported to the country after she ran away from home in November 2010.
No concrete explanation has been given as to how the non-Spanish-speaking African American girl was sent to the country, regardless of her claim to be Tika Lanay Cortez, a Colombian woman born in 1990.
Houston police said in a statement that the name was run through a database to determine if Tika was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but the results were negative. She was then turned over to the Harris County jail and booked on a theft charge.
The county sheriff’s office said it ran her through the available databases and did the interviews necessary to establish her identity and immigration status in the country, with negative results. A sheriff’s office employee then recommended that an immigration detainer be put on her, and upon her release from jail she was turned over to ICE. According to U.S. immigration officials, they followed procedure and found nothing to indicate that the girl wasn’t a Colombian woman living illegally in the country.
“If she looked like an adult, and she told them she was a 21-year-old Colombian citizen, and she didn’t show up in their databases, this was inevitable,” said Albert Armendariz, an immigration attorney from El Paso.
An ICE official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Jakadrien was interviewed by a representative from the Colombian consulate and that the country’s government issued her a travel document to enter Colombia and she was given Colombian citizenship when she arrived. According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jakadrien was enrolled in the country’s “Welcome Home” program where she was given shelter, psychological assistance, and a job at a call center.
Since her return, Jakadrien hasn’t said much about her experience, but according to an attorney for the family, “She’s happy to be home.”
As outrageous as this story sounds, Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School, said it’s not all that uncommon.
“There are a variety of legitimate reasons why somebody might not appear to be a U.S. citizen at first glance.” he said. “It’s the duty of the U.S. federal immigration agency to make sure that we do not detain and deport U.S. citizens erroneously. And this, unfortunately happened in this case.”
According to Jakadrien’s family, they simply plan to “do what we can to make sure she gets back to a normal life,” while their attorney pursues answers as to how this incident occurred.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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