Black Immigrants organize and call out DeLeon and Caruso

LOS ANGELES – BAJI, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, hosted its first ever Los Angeles mayoral forum Tue. May 31.  The forum, which will focus on the concerns and issues of Black immigrants, will take place in Little Ethiopia. Participants include Karen Bass and Gina ViolaMike Feuer has previously agreed to participate but has since dropped out of the race and endorsed Bass. Even with the new date, immigrant rights activist Kevin de Leon has still declined to participate.  Rick Caruso was not invited due to his anti-immigrant and anti-Black positions. In addition to BAJI, the International Society of Black Latinos, Black LGBTQIA+ Migrants Project, Black Los Angeles Young Democrats (BLAYD), Senegalese Association of Los Angeles, and other Los Angeles based Caribbean and African groups participated. 

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“Councilman De Leon describes himself as a champion for immigrants, so I have to admit I find his decision to not attend the Black Migrant Mayoral Forum to be disrespectful to Black people generally and Black migrants specifically,” Nana Gyamfi, Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “The Councilman has participated in forums and debates held by Latinx and API immigrant groups. We invited him to talk with Black migrants for 30 minutes, and offered five different dates and times. He claims to not have 30 minutes for Black migrants on any of those days. The next Mayor of Los Angeles needs to know that racial justice is an immigration issue, and there’s no racial justice without justice for Black people, regardless of citizenship or migrant status.”

1 in 5 Blacks in Los Angeles are immigrants or are the descendants of immigrants.  Los Angeles is home to the largest population of Belizeans outside of Belize.  In addition, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Ghanaians, Jamaicans, Haitians, and Trinidadians represent the largest groups of Caribbean and African Black immigrants in Los Angeles.  The largest concentration of Black immigrants in the City of Los Angeles lives in the 8th, 9th, and 10th Council Districts. 

According to BAJI’s 2018 report, The State of Black Immigrants, although Black immigrants only are 7% of the total immigrant population, 10.6% are deported due to racial profiling and heightened policing. The report also reveals that Black immigrants are more likely to be detained and deported for criminal convictions, despite years of living in the U.S. and having established strong community ties.

“Black migrants are too often made invisible in discussions about the needs, challenges, and aspirations of migrant communities even though Black migrants face disproportionate harm and barriers due to our Blackness” shared Gyamfi. “These harms include criminalization, detention and deportation, exclusion from benefits, and a lack of access to culturally competent information about County and City relief and services. We look forward to discussing these issues with the mayoral candidates.”

Jasmyne Cannick has the full recap at https://iamjasmyne.com/black-immigrants-host-las-mayoral-candidates/