Refugees of Color Matter Too
March 24, 2022
This week, we’ll be talking about something that’s on everyone’s mind: Ukraine. After weeks of building forces on the border, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Since then, the UN has reported that nearly 700 civilians in Ukraine have lost their lives – although the true figures are likely much higher. Over 3 million refugees have fled the country, while more than 2 million Ukrainians have been internally displaced from their homes.
There has been an incredible outpouring of support for Ukrainian refugees, with many European countries opening up their borders and setting up systems to process the large influx of refugees. And the Biden administration recently granted Temporary Protected Status (or TPS) against the deportation of Ukrainians living in the United States.
At the same time, many immigrants’ rights advocates and organizers have pointed out that these same protections and supports have NOT been extended to refugees and asylum-seekers from other majority-Black and Brown countries ,like Cameroon, Ethiopia, and up until very recently, Afghanistan. This contrast has been a startling reflection of the anti-Black racism and white supremacy embedded in our systems.
There is no question that Ukrainian refugees must be given access to the protections and support that they need. And, those same protections and supports must be provided to all migrants – to all people who are fleeing dangerous conditions – regardless of their race, their religion, their language, or their nationality.
Joining us today to talk about these disparities, how they came to be, and their impact is Omar Jadwat, Director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Along with Omar, we are delighted to be joined by Daniel Tse who founded the Cameroon Advocacy Network and who works for the Haitian Bridge Alliance, and leads the Black Immigrants Bail Fund. Daniel also has firsthand experience with the asylum system – having come to the United States from Cameroon as a refugee, and having spent one year in ICE detention before finally gaining asylum.
In this episode
Director, Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU
Asylum Task-Force and Black Immigrants Bail Fund Coordinator, Haitian Bridge Alliance
Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project
This episode, Refugees of Color Matter Too, covers the following issues we work on –