Black immigrants face more discrimination and scrutiny than do other migrant groups, Stateline reports. Many of the challenges they face intersect with the challenges of native-born African Americans, from housing discrimination to disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system. Often the communities where most black immigrants live, such as New York City, are heavily policed, which makes them vulnerable to immigration action, said Michelle Parris of the Immigrant Defense Project. “Local policing and practices drive many black immigrants into the criminal justice system for minor offenses,” Parris said. “That may trigger deportation proceedings and make it harder to fight deportation.”
Nearly 9 percent of immigrants in the U.S. identify as black. More than 1 in 5 immigrants facing deportation on criminal grounds is black, says a 2016 report by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and New York University School of Law. These are people who may be undocumented or are in the country legally with a green card, or a work or family visa, or who are asylum-seekers or refugees. Sixteen percent of black immigrants are undocumented, a number that is growing, though it’s not clear why, according to BAJI, a research, training and advocacy group. “We’re worried,” said Patrice Lawrence of the UndocuBlack Network, an advocacy group for currently and formerly undocumented black immigrants. “[The Trump administration is] putting people’s hearts and minds in limbo. They’ve got a deportation machine geared up and ready to go.” The largest populations of black immigrants are in New York and Florida, followed by Texas, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia and Massachusetts.