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Anti-Black Discrimination and Mistreatment Within the US Asylum and Immigration Systems: A Report

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A shadow report providing selected research and analysis focusing on US immigration and refugee laws, regulations, policies and practices that subject Black non-citizens to racially discriminatory treatment in violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Committee in August. 

The report is not a full-scale record of all forms and manifestations of discrimination in the United States against migrants, refugees and asylum seekers but cites the gross mistreatment of Black non-citizens—migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers—by laws, regulations, policies, and practices, rooted in racism and xenophobia in contravention of the Convention, which prohibits discrimination against all persons under its jurisdiction, including non-citizens on the basis of race and national origin. 

Black migrants now account for 10% of the Black population and 7.2% of all non-citizens and are disproportionately demonized and targeted for violence and exclusion at the border, criminalization, detention and deportation. Among all migrants, Black migrants are nearly three times more likely to be detained and deported as a result of an alleged criminal offense. Migrants seeking to enter and living in the U.S. are subject to intensifying and violent militarized border enforcement, interior enforcement and raids, bans and bars to entry into the U.S.; the elimination of opportunities to claim asylum, as well as surveillance, policing, profiling and criminalization; detention under inhuman conditions; family separation; and exclusions from access to programs to meet basic needs. At each of these points, migrants are experiencing physical and sexual violence, violation, degradation, torture and abuse, family separation, gross medical neglect, and demonization, and are being forced to return to dangerous or desperate conditions.

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The report highlights the US government’s implementation of a series of policies at the border, including metering, the Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42 policies, under the false guise of public health, upholding the ban on entry of asylum-seekers under these policies indefinitely, with a devastating and disparate impact on Black migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. They have resulted in the double standards by which this country’s immigration policies are applied to Black and Brown immigrants and in myriad human rights violations, have prevented many people eligible for refugee protection from seeking or receiving asylum in the US, and have been used to carry out summary pushbacks and expulsions of asylum seekers in direct violation of non-refoulment jus cogens obligations.  Since 2020, thousands of Haitians, including asylum seekers, have been disparately targeted for expulsion under the Title 42 policy to a deepening security and humanitarian crisis in Haiti without an opportunity to apply for asylum protection. 

The anti-Black animus behind policies adopted by the former Trump administration was made evident in statements reportedly made by President Donald Trump denigrating African and Haitian countries and their people. Some of these illegal practices from the prior administration—including Title 42 expulsions—continue. But discriminatory government policies and practices to deter Black refugees and 2 immigrants from coming to the US are not new. 2 Contemporary efforts to target, interdict, detain and block Haitian refugees span back to at least the 1970s. 3 As some commentators have remarked, “[w]e are in a moment that is strikingly reminiscent of the early 1980s when fear and hatred of Haitians was used to justify the reinstitution and expansion of immigration detention.”. 

This shadow report summarizes the U.S.’s legal framework and a clear pattern of anti-Blackness and racism throughout its immigration policy and enforcement that discriminates against racial makeup, ethnicity, or national origin. It also details some of the myriad, recent violations of the rights of Black migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the US. The Report recommends steps the US should take to comply with its obligations under the CERD.

Read the full report here.

Source: CERD: A Shadow Report on Anti-Black Discrimination within US Immigration, Detention, and Enforcement Systems:  END THE WAR ON BLACK MIGRANTS

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