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Considering the Ukrainian refugee issue has made African advocates cry

Considering the Ukrainian refugee issue has made African advocates cry


A destroyed building after the earthquake in Haiti Photo: 1001 nights (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden recently announced that his administration would open a variety of means of entry into the United States for the nearly 100,000 Ukrainian immigrants seeking asylum from the violent conflict in their country. The president said Ukrainian refugees would receive temporary protection status, which would prevent them from being deported. Biden’s plan will focus on Ukrainians who have family members in the United States. But the announcement prompted many immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean to question why they were not given the same attention.

Critics of Biden’s plan point out that Haitians who suffered the assassination of their president in July of 2021 and a deadly earthquake a month later were victims of racist US immigration policies that leave them with few options. “The reality is that all over the world, unfortunately, there are many people who are going through similar things and are not receiving that kind of urgency from the US government or attention,” said Samah Sesay, a Liberian immigrant who works at the center. of constitutional rights. Sesay refers to the double standards in US immigration policy, noting that because Ukrainians are European, they are not seen as a threat as they are for African refugees.

Even African citizens of Ukraine suffered from racism while trying to escape the violence of war. Many of them were physically abused and prevented from boarding trains leaving the war-torn region. In March, an international group of civil rights lawyers said they intended to file an appeal with the United Nations on behalf of black refugees who faced discrimination while trying to flee Ukraine.

Some US politicians are trying to push talk of the treatment of black immigrants to the fore. On March 15, US representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Mundir Jones (D-New York) wrote a letter asking the administration to stop deporting Haitians seeking asylum in the US. More than 20,000 Haitian refugees have deported since September 2021. According to a Pew Research Center study of census data, one in 10 black people in the United States are immigrants, a number that is expected to increase.

In addition to protecting Ukrainian refugees from deportation, a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will allow them to obtain a work permit and travel for up to 18 months. The Cameroonians, who have been seeking asylum from their country’s bloody civil war that began in 2017, have sought the same consideration from the United States for years. “We have always known that Africans and blacks always get the worst of it,” said Sylvie Bello, founder of the Cameroon American Council. Ukraine has a TPS days after the conflict, and there is no Cameroonian TPS after five years. This distinction should not come as a shock because every other program within American immigration justice is anti-black, and anti-African. …Why does the pain of lions not meet the compensation and relief of immigration? “

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security responded to an NBC News request for comment with an email that reads in part, “TPS appointments are determined after careful consideration and consultation with interagency partners.”




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