Dreamers, anxiously awaiting a legislative fix, represent America’s diversity

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Image courtesy of United We Dream

Editorial Note: As the clock ticks down to midnight, Friday, January 19, before which Congress must pass legislation to keep the federal government open, negotiations continue and legislative proposals are being floated to provide a bipartisan and permanent solution for Dreamers. Since September, when President Trump declared an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, 800,000 Dreamers brought to this country as children have been living in fear, not knowing what their future holds. Please call your members of Congress now and tell them to support passage of the Dream Act. Dial 1-855-764-1010.

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As the fight to address the status of Dreamers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) continues, we caught up with Nana Brantuo, policy manager for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, to talk about the importance of Black voices at this critical time.

BAJI, founded in 2006 in response to the repressive immigration bills under consideration in Congress at that time, again finds itself working to ensure the voices of the almost 13,000 Dreamers and the more than 50,000 with TPS from Africa and the Caribbean are heard in this debate.

For Nana this work is also personal. She is the child of immigrant parents. Her mother is from Sierra Leone and her father from Ghana.

NEA EdJustice was able to catch up with her between organizing and activism to get her perspective on Black immigration in America and on the possibilities for action in 2018.

NEA EdJustice: How do you see Black immigrants engaging in this movement at such a critical time?

Brantuo: We really opened up a dialogue about our similarities and different experiences as immigrants. I got the feeling of how unstoppable we are together, and honestly I look forward to more actions. It’s obvious that we will have to continue this fight throughout the Trump presidency.

Younger Black immigrants recognize that their voices have been missing from the conversation on immigration rights, so they’re creating their own spaces. They’re lifting up their experiences on social media and in school. Being Black and an immigrant is a uniquely challenging yet uniquely beautiful experience. As a young Black immigrant, you’re are at the intersections of so many identities, many of which are marginalized. They’re recognizing the need to be in community and solidarity with people who share their experiences.

Black immigrants have been in this country for a long time. Our needs intersect with African Americans, Muslims, Asians, and the Latinx community. We touch on every group that is marginalized within American society.

NEA EdJustice: The immigrant rights community organizers were really busy at the end of the year trying to get Congress to address the issues of Dreamers and those with TPS. What was your takeaway from that experience?

Brantuo: My experience at the day of action in December was wonderful, beautiful and motivating. The Asian American-Pacific Islander Immigrant Rights Table and UndocuBlack did an amazing job of organizing. We really opened up a dialogue about our similarities and different experiences as immigrants. I got the feeling of how unstoppable we are together, and honestly, I look forward to more actions.

Call your members of Congress now to pass a bipartisan Dream Act: 1-855-764-1010.

Reader Comments

  1. Will call on Monday, but my members of Congress are Schumer, Gellibrand and Suozzi so I’m good. We can not let the Republicans use DACA as ransom. We must protect our Dreamers – I am first generation – we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Until Trump and the rest of the Republicans can prove that they are Native American, no giving in on protecting our immigrants population. That’s what makes America great!

  2. Please find a pathway to legalized citizenship for these children and adults. I teach some of these children. They are hardworking and do not deserve to be left in limbo.

  3. How about free education for Americans who live here and are Americans, Why is every thing free for people who aren’t citizens?

  4. This is not the American way!! This president (if that’s what you want to call him has no empathy)
    We need to send him away!

    These Dreamers have no reason going back to a foreign country. They need to stay in America a country that they only know. Republicans think about if this was you or your own children.

    Keep The Dreamers in Am. where they belong.

  5. We need a national match in the nations capital against a racist president Trump who demeans people of African and Latino descent with his racist ideology and immigration policy we need a March On Washington like MLK did in 1963 until their is real change. We need to March and fast at the White House. Amen

  6. Dear Congressman Bucshon:

    Please do not allow Dreamers to the shipped to countries they do not know. Please support the Dream Act and keep these young and productive Americans here in the US.

  7. Dear Senator Young:

    Please do not allow Dreamers to be shipped to countries they do not know. Please support the Dream Act and keep these young and productive immigrants here in the US.

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