The journey to U.S. soil and the experience of Black immigrants in the U.S. today is intrinsically connected to our nation’s history of White supremacy, colonialism, and slavery. The North Atlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in history, which forcibly relocated at least 12 million Africans and more than 50 ethnic and linguistic groups. Black immigrants represent a significant, rapidly growing segment of our community in the United States, and all journey here with unique challenges, distinct backgrounds, and important qualities that add to the fabric of the country.
According to the Pew Research Center, Black immigrants, mostly from Africa and the Caribbean, make up nearly one in ten of our country’s Black population and are expected to account for about a third of the country’s projected growth of our Black community through 2060, primarily concentrated in metropolitan cities like New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Yet despite their growth and successes, Black immigrants face continuing challenges from anti-Black discrimination and racial prejudice, in addition to the barriers that some face due to unstable immigration status.
Black immigrants have lower household incomes on average compared to all U.S. immigrants, despite having reached higher levels of education when compared to our general immigrant population. According to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Black immigrants are also more likely to be detained for criminal convictions than any other immigrant population in the U.S. They are also more likely to be returned to their home country and prevented from returning than immigrants of other races or ethnicities.
U.S. immigration policies also continue to reinforce anti-Blackness through discriminatory practices, as demonstrated by the Border Patrol’s racist and brutal mistreatment of Haitian refugees at the U.S. southern border in the past few years. And research conducted by Tahirih and Oxfam America has shown that Black migrants face greater risks of experiencing gender-based violence while waiting at the southern border because of anti-Black discrimination.
Organizations across the country that are led by and work alongside Black immigrants provide critical support to their communities and support leaders in the movement for racial justice and immigrant rights. We encourage you to join us in elevating, listening to, and learning about organizations in which Black migrants come together to support each other and their larger communities.
- The Black Migrant Power Fund is a community-led fund that will move immediate, no-strings funding to Black-led, grassroots organizations addressing the urgent needs of Black migrant communities and building power with and for Black migrants in the US. They are raising immediate, long overdue resources for Black migrant organizations leading transformative change on the frontlines of movements for immigrant and racial justice.
- African Communities Together is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and worldwide. ACT connects African immigrants to critical services, helps Africans develop as leaders and engage civically, and organizes their communities on the issues that matter, from fair immigration policy to housing.
- Black Alliance for Just Immigration uses organization, education, advocacy, and cross-cultural alliances with the goal of ending the racism, criminalization, and economic disenfranchisement perpetrated against Black immigrants, refugees, and African American communities. For more than 15 years, they have united Black voices in the pursuit of equality and justice in both laws and local communities.
- The Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) is a nonprofit organization that “advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses.” HBA trains migrants in their own languages on issues such as employment, tax, and landlord/tenant laws, as well as immigration laws and policies. They also offer a detention hotline, health support, humanitarian aid, and more.
- UndocuBlack Network (UBN) aims to “have truly inclusive immigrant rights and racial justice movements that advocate for the rights of Black undocumented individuals.” This multigenerational network includes local chapters in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, that enable Black undocumented immigrants to find kinship with others in their communities. UBN also established a Mental Wellness Initiative to address the trauma of those in the Black undocumented immigrant community, including by ensuring individuals have access to mental health services.
- Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP) is housed at the Transgender Law Center and includes local and regional networks across the country. BLMP programs include national organizing efforts, deportation defense for detained community members, and research such as the inaugural Queer Black Migrant Survey — all in pursuit of “a world where no one is forced to give up their homeland, where all Black LGBTQIA+ people are free and liberated.”