To you, and everyone in the streets, organizing within their communities and building a world where Black lives not only matter, but thrive, we thank you and stand alongside you.
It’s midsummer in Arizona, and many of us are in the desert leaving water, responding to missing persons calls and providing care to people crossing during the heat, navigating a humanitarian crisis mid-pandemic. For aid workers, it’s not uncommon to meet people in the desert with a familiar story: Profiled by police, arrested, handed over to ICE, deported and now trying to get home to their families and loved ones.
As the uprisings have increased in the United States, we’ve also seen Customs and Border Protection drones circle Minneapolis, Border Patrol deployed to Washington D.C. and armed CBP agents posing in front of community shrines in San Diego. ICE and Border Patrol have long extended the militarization of the border into cities and the interior of the country and through these actions are only reaffirming their racist and xenophobic agendas.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Dion Johnson are only the most recent examples of police brutality, actions of an institution rooted in white supremacy. What we recognize as modern day policing in the U.S. was born from a need to prevent uprisings amongst slaves, and to preserve Black people as property.
This legacy of white supremacy lives on in the prison system, which is a clear reimagination and continuation of slavery, incarcerating Black people at a rate five times that of white people. Immigration detention and deportation are an extension of the same racist policing and court systems, often occupying the same buildings and being run by the same for-profit corporations.
Migrant justice and Black liberation are inextricably linked.
Immigration is a Black issue. The stories of Black migrants are often erased or minimized, as are the struggles of Black people everywhere. Routine discrimination against the undocumented community is increased even more by anti-Blackness, making Black immigrants far more likely to be funneled into the deportation machine.
In the most recent installment of our Disappeared report series, we demanded that Border Patrol be defunded and dismantled, with reparations paid to family members of all those killed or disappeared by U.S. border enforcement policy. This recommendation was built on the understanding that no reform could end Border Patrol violence and extrajudicial killings. In making these demands we took guidance from centuries of Black abolitionist thought and organizing.
Black feminist, activist and professor Angela Davis summed up the current political moment in a recent interview: “What we are seeing now are new demands: demands to demilitarize the police, demands to defund the police, demands to dismantle the police and envision different modes of public safety. We’re asked now to consider how we might imagine justice in the future. This is a very exciting moment. I don’t know if we have ever experienced this kind of global challenge to racism and the consequences of slavery and colonialism.”
No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes affirms our call to defund ICE and CBP and joins the call to defund the police nationwide.
When we defund and demilitarize the police and pay reparations to the communities they have terrorized for centuries, we may finally begin to construct a society which is not based on brutality and murder.
So we invite you, as friends and supporters of migrants, immigrants and racial justice to give generously to Black immigration organizations at this pivotal time in history. Donations to organizations such as Movement for Black Lives or to Black Trans groups will save lives.
In solidarity and gratitude,
No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes community