Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter.

We aim to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Black community and demand accountability for the murders of Dion Johnson, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless, but not nameless, Black people before them.

We know in our advocacy for immigrants that the struggle for human rights for migrants is inextricably linked to the systemic racism and violence that is so deeply entrenched in this country’s culture and laws. We also know that Black people in this country are at much greater risk of being murdered and brutalized by police officers and their fellow Americans. Indeed, Black people in America are disproportionately impacted by systemic, state sponsored oppression. They are over-policed by law enforcement, over-charged by district attorneys, over-sentenced by judges, and more likely to pay the ultimate price in our violent criminal justice system – capital punishment.

In the wake of the most recently publicized spate of state sanctioned murders, the non-Black community is now finally starting to see and acknowledge injustices that Black people have been decrying for decades, if not centuries. However, this awakening is just the first step of a long struggle for justice and equality and mere acknowledgement of the problem is not enough. We cannot let this moment, or this outrage, fade. It is clear that white people and members of other non-Black communities must do much more to join the fight to dismantle systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and oppression. We each have an obligation to confront the ways we have internalized and perpetuate violent, racist structures that permit and excuse both state and private violence against Black people and communities.

Erasure of black narratives and stories is also present in the field of immigration. Though the majority of our clients are from Latin America, many of our clients, including those from Latin America, identify as Black, Afro-Latinx, Afro-indigenous or African. And as Pride Month kicks off, we also acknowledge the particular violence and prejudice LGBTQ+ Black people and people of color face in this country and our immigration system. Black Trans and LGBQ+ Lives Matter.

Within an immigration system rife with injustices, anti-Black racism is prevalent as well. Black immigrants, some of whom have also fled anti-Black racism in their home countries, are targeted by police violence and brutality in this country and are further targeted by our racist immigration system. For instance, a report by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and the NYU Law Immigrant Rights Clinic found that “Black immigrants are much more likely than nationals from other regions to be deported due to a criminal conviction.” We encourage you to read the report to learn more about how Black immigrants are disproportionately criminalized within the U.S. immigration system.

In our own community, we have signed onto to a solidarity letter from the Immigrant Justice Movement. If you or someone you know is detained by ICE in Arizona while protesting, please reach out to our legal team by calling our legal orientation hotline or emailing firrp@firrp.orgMigrants should not face immigration consequences for standing in solidarity with the Black community against police violence.

We invite you to join us in this fight and encourage you to consider supporting those who are out there protesting and demanding justice through Black People’s Justice Fund here in Arizona or bail funds in your local community, as well as organizations that center Black immigrants like the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

This is a moment for all of us to reflect on our past actions and ways we have perpetuated violent, racist systems in our communities and to acknowledge that we all must grow to be better allies to the Black community and in the movement for racial justice and equality.