Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of MLK Jr.

April 4th, 2018

+ 5 Fast Facts on the Black Immigrant Community

NEW YORK, NY – Today, on the 50th anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we take a moment to honor his death and the sacrifices he made in the struggle for civil rights and racial justice.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Dr. King fought for the rights and representation of marginalized people against the brutal oppression of their own government. In the immigrants rights community we draw inspiration from his leadership and stand on the shoulders of his enormous legacy. On this day in particular, we stand in solidarity with the ongoing struggle of African Americans to achieve true equality, as well as our black immigrant communities who face the double stigma of racism and xenophobia in the Trump era, and commit ourselves to King’s values of ‘dangerous unselfishness.’ Because in our New York, it's who you are - not where you come from - that matters.”

5 Fast Facts on the Black Immigrant Community

  1. Black immigrants are 9% of the U.S. black population. They come from the following top five countries: Jamaica (693,000), Haiti (654,000), Nigeria (304,000), Ethiopia (237,000), and Trinidad and Tobago (171,000). In the New York metro area, black immigrants make up more than 1 out of every 4 black residents (28% of the population).
  2. The majority of black immigrants are here legally. 54% of black immigrants are U.S. citizens. Of the sub-Saharan immigrants who have become legal permanent residents, 17% came through the Diversity Visa program and about 22% of African immigrants are refugees. African countries receive nearly half nearly (46%) of all diversity visas. Most Caribbean immigrants obtain lawful permanent residence status in the United States through three main channels: qualifying as immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, through family reunification, or refugee and asylum relief.
  3. In 2012, 575,000 black immigrants were undocumented, accounting for 16% of all black immigrants. Roughly 3%, or 36,000 African immigrants would have been eligible for DACA.
  4. 29% of black immigrants 25 and older hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree. The education attainment rates for black immigrants are similar to those for native-born Americans at 32% and 31%, respectively. Specifically, African immigrants average about 14 years of schooling, while native-born Americans average about 13.5 years.
  5. The NYIC’s Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative (BIEI) is the first initiative in New York – and one of the first in the country – to focus on supporting New York’s black immigrant-led, community-based organizations and legal service providers. BIEI members engage African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino community members through outreach, direct legal services, advocacy, and mobilization efforts that integrate the black immigrant experience into the greater immigrant rights movement and intersectional movements such as Black Lives Matter.

BIEI is led by seven member organizations - African Services Committee, African Communities Together, Brooklyn Defenders Service, CAMBA, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and Sauti Yetu – and engages dozens more in partnerships.