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The voice of African immigrants grows stronger

Recent research suggests that the number of people who have emigrated from Africa to the United States has risen to 1.4 million in 2013 from 570,000  a decade or so earlier. Some reports have suggested that the voice of African immigrants is also on the rise, with advocates and immigrants becoming more active as their numbers grow. A recent article recalled a gathering in cities across the nation, possibly including some in North Carolina, in 2006, that inspired the founding of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration group.

In April, 2006, many gathered in community streets to protest a proposed bill that would, if enacted into law, criminalize undocumented immigrants. The BAJI group was formed with the aim of combining efforts between African immigrants and black Americans to support immigration reform.  Since the inception of the group, members have strived to promote social justice and offer support to undocumented immigrants.

The recent article stated that African immigrants have crossed the borders of the United States in a variety of ways, including student visas, those who came to reunite with their families and work visas. Others arrived through a diversified visa program, which some in Congress have sought to eliminate. The executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center recently said that African immigrants share common ground with other immigrants in the nation, and advocates who support immigration reform would like to see them receive a fairer path to legitimization of their statuses.

African immigrants in North Carolina who wish to pursue legal status in the United States might want to seek help in understanding the current laws and regulations regarding the process. Various circumstances make each immigrant's situation unique. It is typically helpful to consult with a legal professional regarding what options might be available and how best to navigate the system when pursuing legitimization of status.

Source:, "A Growing National Alliance: African Diaspora and Immigrant Rights Groups", George White, April 28, 2015

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