Nana Gyamfi, Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, tells NPR’s Scott Simon about challenges Black immigrants to the U.S. face.
All this month, we’ve been spotlighting community organizations across the country that are shaping Black history for the future. And we end this series with a look at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, BAJI for short, a nonprofit group that tries to advocate for the millions of Black migrant families who live in the United States and many more in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America who seek sanctuary here. Nana Gyamfi is executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and joins us now. Ms. Gyamfi, thanks so much for being here.
NANA GYAMFI: Thank you so much for having me.
SIMON: So many of the stories of Black migrants are just very different from what we think of as that big push of immigrants that fanned out across the United States. How do their experiences differ and what they faced differ?
GYAMFI: So Black migrants face a lot of challenges that other migrant groups do not face or don’t face to the same degree, much of that rooted in the racial inequality, the anti-Blackness that is inherently part of this country. When we see who, for example, is being let into the United States and we look at Black migrants, we don’t have the same numbers. We’re very dependent upon visas, such as diversity visas. And we find that over time, there’s always been these attacks on the types of visas that allow Black migrants to be connected to their families here in the United States. As Black immigrants, we are much more likely to find ourselves in detention or deportation proceedings because we’ve been pulled over by the police in the way that so many Black people we hear about. And then when we look at separation, that’s often a conversation that is focused on brown folks. But as Black migrants, we find ourselves separated through the criminal sanction system, through child services and the social services system, separated in detention, separated by deportation.