The national debate currently ongoing and fueled by the policies of the Trump Administration primarily frames immigration as a border issue. According to a Population Reference Bureau report, “Immigration and America’s Black Population,” the number of foreign-born U.S. Blacks increased from 125,000 in 1960 to 2,815,000 in 2005. Additionally about two-thirds of foreign-born Black people are from the Caribbean and Latin America. As a country and a city which is steadily transforming to “majority minority,” immigration issues must be discussed holistically in all levels of society, as it primarily affects the future of the country. The Black Institute aims to address issues faced by black immigrants through research, legal services, and on-the-ground support.
The Black Institute has published a number of reports on immigration reform and the struggles that immigrant communities face, including:
- Dream Deferred / Black, Invisible & Undocumented: The Plight of Caribbean Immigrant Youth
- All Races, All Faces: A Guide to NYC Immigrant Communities
- Taxation Without Representation: African Immigrants in New York
Building off of The Black Institute’s reports, TBI held an immigration panel with lawmakers in 2014 at The Schomberg Center to discuss its All Races, All Faces report. This was part of a campaign to educate lawmakers and the public about the sheer number of immigrants in New York and the different needs that they have. Prior to the 2016 election, TBI partnered with the New York Immigration Coalition to launch the Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative. This program coordinated legal support and helped register new voters.
In 2018, The Black Institute is implementing an immigrant services program in the field that provides black immigrants with legal and support services. TBI is stationed in the offices of elected officials providing one-on-one assistance to those who are in legal limbo because of the rapidly changing federal immigration landscape.