One of the premier organizations advocating on behalf of Black immigrants had some choice words for President Joe Biden’s administration following an appeals court ruling this week determining that a federal program designed to shield immigrants brought to this country illegally as children by allowing them to apply for legal asylum is against the law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday rendered its ruling about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law means people protected can still renew their statuses — for now. But moving forward, it was not immediately clear what the decision means for new applicants as the case was sent back to a district court reviewing a rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security to help preserve and fortify DACA.
It was in that context that the UndocuBlack Network called out the Biden Administration and its “trifecta” controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House for not doing enough to protect an estimated 600,000 young undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from being deported.
“Despite of all this power, what also remains true is that since the beginning of this presidency, the Biden-Harris Administration, like previous administrations, have treated undocumented people with little to no regard for their dignity,” Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of UndocuBlack, said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “Through lost opportunities to create a DACA rule that allowed for processing of new applications, and the lack of legislation that would provide our people with green cards and opportunities to apply for citizenship, the Biden-Harris Administration has failed us.”
Lawrence called on Congress to do its part to help protect the Dreamers, a term for DACA recipients and a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that never passed Congress.
“It is still possible for Congress to pass legislation that permanently protects all undocumented people regardless of age, background, gender, how they pray or their ethnicity,” Lawrence added before adding: “The time for elected officials to put action where mere words have always been is now. We need passage of legislation that will provide green cards and citizenship for all before January 2023.”
Ronnie James, the Community Engagement Coordinator of UndocuBlack and also a DACA recipient, also challenged Congress and the Biden Administration to work together to pass a bill to amend a portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act that protects certain long-term residents in the U.S.
Referring to his existence as a “time-bound subscription to the US,” James said “DACA remains insufficient and insecure” as he awaits yet another judge to determine his fate.
“Myself, fellow DACA recipients, and all other immigrants without permanent status/security deserve the ability to adjust our status through green cards,” James said. “Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration have the power to do this before the end of the year.”
To be sure, a good number of Black immigrants are at risk of facing deportation if DACA is terminated.
Of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, just about 600,000 of them are Black, according to the most recent statistics by the Migration Policy Institute. That’s a close second to the nearly 800,000 undocumented Latino immigrants in the U.S.
President Barack Obama pioneered DACA in 2012. When his successor took aim at the law, Obama was the voice of reason.
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama wrote in an iconic Facebook post in 2017. “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”