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Black groups expected court’s immigration decision —

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They also don’t like what Obama has done

By Frederick H. Lowe

Two groups said they expected a negative court ruling with respect to President Obama’s immigration reform plan. However, they added they weren’t happy with the president’s efforts to improve the lives of this country’s black immigrants.

The two groups, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the Black Immigration Network, both based in New York, made their comments in a joint statement following a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Monday that overturned President Barack Obama’s executive order shielding more than 4 million immigrants from deportation. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled President Obama exceeded his authority. The decision sided with 26 states opposed to President Obama’s plan.

The Obama Administration said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides to review the ruling, a decision would be issued after President Obama leaves office in January 2017.

 

Black Alliance For Just Immigration protests
Black Alliance For Just Immigration protests

The 5th Circuit Court’s decision mostly stops the Deferred Action for Parents, designed to help foreign-born parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The program, scheduled to begin in May, would grant three-year work permits to more than 4 million adults who have lived in the United States illegally for at least five years.

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, hailed the decision. He has maintained that 11 million undocumented immigrants should immediately be removed from the country. His opponent Dr. Ben Carson, however, has questioned how Trump would round up undocumented immigrants. Trump has not offered any specifics.

For the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the Black Immigration Network, the decision was expected because the 5th Circuit is a conservative court.

“It is definitely no surprise that the Fifth Circuit court, which has previously been hostile to immigrants, issued a ruling in favor of 26 hostile states, against an administration that is also hostile towards millions of immigrants,”said Opai Tometi, executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter.

In addition, the groups have both asserted that black immigrant families have not benefited from Obama’s immigration policies.

“Though black immigrants are only about 10% of the foreign-born population in the U.S., they are detained and deported at five times the rate of their presence in the undocumented immigrant community,” Tometi said.

Tometi added: “Black immigrant families — even those eligible for relief under Obama’s quick fixes — may have yet to reap the benefits of the administration’s  relief measures as black immigrants often remain overlooked and excluded from the immigration discourse. We continue to call on the Obama administration to work with Congress to end hostility toward immigrants by providing true relief to families, and eliminating immigrant detention, local ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) collaboration programs like the Priority Enforcement Program and mass deportations,” Tometi said.

A record 3.8 million black immigrants now live in the United States, more than four times the number who lived here in 1980, according to Pew Research Center, which analyzed U.S. Census Department data. Most Americans, however, think of immigrants as being Hispanic, which may or may not be case for black immigrants.

In 1980, there were 3.1 million black immigrants in the U.S. In 1990, the number climbed to 4.9 million and in 2000, the number reached 6.7 million, reported Pew on Thursday. These latest figures are from 2013.

Black immigrants now account for 8.7% of the nation’s black population, but the Census Bureau projects that by 2060, 16.5% of U.S. blacks will be immigrants.

Black immigrants come from all parts of the world, but more than half are from the Caribbean, with Jamaica being the largest source of immigrants, followed by Haiti.

Black immigration is also fueled by countries in sub-Saharan Africa, led by Nigeria and Ethiopia.

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