QOTD: Is Immigration on the Black Agenda?


Some would argue that not all communities of color in America are as vocal as they should be in relation to immigration laws. The issue has taken the Latino American community by storm, but is it on the black agenda? Why or why not?


UrbanCusp.com is a cutting-edge online life.style magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. The site offers a platform for young adult perspectives, profiles inspirational visionaries and artists, and serves as an online community for change agents who are like-minded. Founded in 2011 by Rahiel Tesfamariam, Urban Cusp highlights voices, ideas and images not commonly found within mainstream media.


  1. Timothy Jones

    July 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I believe that it is clear that immigration is not on the forefront of the Black Agenda. I perceive something of a conflicted opinion in our community on this issue. On the one hand we can certainly relate to the oppressive nature of these immigration laws, but on the other hand I believe that many in our community are concerned that a massive influx of immigrants will split already limited resources in our urban communities.

    • Patricia Lesesne

      July 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      I agree. Immigration is not on the forefront of the Black agenda due to conflicted opinions regarding the concerns over splitting resources, as well as conflicted opinions that result from interpersonal struggles across cultures/nationalities/ethnicities within the Black community. As an African American, I must confess that it is difficult to become impassioned about the concerns of persons who regard me with similar biases as the dominant culture. I am speaking specifically of the widespread anti-African American sentiments within Black immigrant communities. Nonetheless, I believe that the Black agenda should include immigration. Likewise, I believe that the Black agenda should also include working to confront the biases within the Black community and developing an inclusive plan for progress. The attack on immigration is an attack on the “other”. You may have been the other yesterday, and it is someone else today, but who knows. Tomorrow you may be the other again. Therefore, all who have known or known the impact of being “othered” should stand together on immigration.

  2. Ivy

    July 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Questions like these always make me wonder first whether “Black” here includes Africans/Caribbeans. The immigration debate largely ignores the fact that there are non-Latino immigrants in this country and that these policies can affect them as well. I’d like to see broader coalition efforts that include both Black American and Black immigrant communities but it might be that the tension between the two groups precludes that from happening and everyone worries about their own particular oppression

    • Rahiel

      July 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Excellent. Excellent point. Those same thoughts were brewing as this question was being formed.

  3. ÁJG

    July 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    As a Latino (and immigrant) who calls the black church home, I think that like many other complex questions the answer is both yes, and, no. I’ll begin with the “Yes” part.
    It seems to me that for many members of the black community immigration is an important issue but for three disparate reasons. On the one hand, in many cities (Phila, LA, NY, Raleigh/Durham) Latin American immigrants now reside in historically black neighborhoods. And as others have already noted, such co-residency has resulted in a sensed or real competition for jobs, public resources and neighborhood “ownership.” In other words, scarcity (whether real or not) has caused fear, suspicion and even hostility for both the Latino and black community. Like mice under the master’s table, blacks and Latinos fight for the crumbs on the floor. Such a reality has moved some within the black community to side with conservative (and mainly white) politicians to “get the illegals out,” as a former neighbor once boldly exclaimed. This is the unfortunate and troubling way that immigration is on the black agenda.
    On the other hand, there are some who do not see immigration as a priority issue. This is due to a failure to see the connection between their own needs and the needs of recent African, Latino and Middle-Eastern immigrants. Equitable wages, affordable health care and access to education, in fact, concern us all. The idea is basically that since the U.S. black community did not immigrate, just immigration reform should not be of concern. This posture is one of indifference.
    However, there is another more promising way in which immigration is on the black agenda. There are many in the black community who recognize anti-immigrantion politics for what it is, namely, part of maintaining systemic white supremacy in the U.S. Such a conviction motivates them to fight for justice for all immigrants and in mounting a unified front against racial profiling, family separation and English-only sentiments and bills. Like the freedom fighters before them, black pastors, teachers, grandmothers and ordinary people throughout the country are not fooled by empty political rhetoric and bravely seek after an America who truly lives us to her ideals: justice for all.

  4. Renee

    July 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This is why i do not like the term African-American. People of color (non Latino’s) come from all over the world. Immigration issues have had affected them for decades.