Thirty – five years ago today, my father arrived in America. My mother would join him the following January.
He came on a scholarship to obtain his Masters from Denver University. He came to escape what would become the First Liberian Civil War – a twenty year conflict that would claim the lives of millions. I have never taken for granted the sacrifice and isolation of my parents’ immigrant experience; the abuse from both white and Black America. As Africans, they were thrust into the strange dynamic that is race relations in this country. They endured to ensure my sister and I were given opportunities to thrive.
The story of my parents is not unlike many immigrants who traveled great distance to give privilege to their children. They experienced the American Dream in its most convoluted definition.
The United States of America has long has conversations surrounding its migrant and immigrant population – and as we move towards nationalist policies, the sacrifices my parents made are now in jeopardy, more than ever before. My own citizenship is in danger (though a huge constitutional fight must first be won).
As the world focuses on the sweeping caravan of migrants coming from Central and South America – the story of Black immigrants is often lost amongst the clutter. Black immigrants often face higher rates of incarceration and deportation – America’s inherent racism not lost in its immigration practices.
As we wait to see what comes of Trump’s newest nationalist suggestion – let us not forget Black immigrants and their children.