Do migrants’ lives also matter?


It was May 25, 2020 when the George Floyd was killed brutally by the US police. Barack Obama, Bill Klinton, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter along with their first ladies, issued (respectively) statements in which they underlined the injustice and condolences for this and similar cases which are occurring across the nation. What is different with these protests? The politics for migrants. Both USA and the EU neglect the significance of the migrant policies while the crises arise to be more and more serious. Do migrants’ lives also matter?

The unrest began as local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before quickly spreading nationwide and in over 60 countries internationally in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Over 2,000 cities and towns in the United States have seen demonstrations over his death as of June 13, and protests continued into a third week after Floyd’s death in many cities.

While most protests have been peaceful, demonstrations in some cities descended into riots and widespread looting, with more being marked by street skirmishes and significant police brutality, notably against peaceful protesters and reporters. At least 200 cities in the U.S. had imposed curfews by June 3, while at least more than 30 states and Washington, D.C, activated over 62,000 National Guard personnel due to the mass unrest. The protests were initially peaceful, but later there was vandalism of stores; at the 3rd Precinct police station windows were broken and fires set. Police in riot gear used tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets and smoke bombs, and some protesters threw rocks at the police.

The media highlighted the apparent differences in aggression between the police response to these protests versus the more measured response to the 2020 United States anti-lockdown protests featuring gun-wielding white protesters. This sentiment also spread on social media.

AP reports that among the thousands who march each day in support of the Black Lives Matter movement are immigrants and their advocates. But protesting for them has an added risk: inadvertently winding up in immigration custody. All over the country, immigrants are expressing solidarity with the movement that has taken off since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The same organizations that advocate for migrant rights are lending their support to Black Lives Matter, and many feels compelled to also march, often saying they relate to the struggle black people face with punitive policing and racism. But with the deployment of federal immigration authorities to marches around the country, and with the existing relationships many local jails have with them, even marching peacefully — or in some cases, being at the wrong place at the wrong time — can upend someone’s life as they know it in the U.S. At least four immigrants were arrested by Phoenix police as marches were beginning to take hold. Three of the four are protected through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and allows them to work. Because the local jail allows officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in its facilities, they all ended up in immigration custody, including a well-known young activist who has DACA protections and who was released the next day after intense pressure from immigration activists. The activist, Máxima Guerrero, had been serving as a legal observer and wasn’t participating in the protest when she was arrested, according to the organization she works for.

The CNN reports on the critical stage the protests to the immigrant community, putting forward the immigrant issues. “Because black people are over-policed, that means that additional contacts with the criminal justice system puts black immigrants at increased risk of a violation that jeopardizes their residency in the US”. If any foreign nationals do find themselves in an encounter with police, a criminal defense lawyer should certainly be their first call and an immigration lawyer should come second, Karaahmet recommends. Ultimately, CNN sources say, a lot of decisions hinge on visa status, therefore they “just try to err on the side of caution”.

There are lots of uncertainties regarding the US immigration policy for immigrants in the future. Systemic segregation, discrimination, and all other forms of nation-wide neglect towards some groups of citizens within the United States of America.

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