L4BL x BAJI.png

The number of migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border could approach the 1 million mark in 2019. Just two years ago the U.S was experiencing the lowest levels of arrivals at the border since 1971. [1] After being denied funding for a border wall by Congress and declaring a state of emergency at the border, the Trump Administration began to take unprecedented steps towards criminalizing border crossings. Some of their actions included dispatching active duty military and National Guard, narrowing access to asylum, returning migrants to Mexico to wait for the outcome of their hearings, separation and detention of children from their families, cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for not limiting migration and threatening tariffs against Mexico to force stricter enforcement and detention at its own borders. These punitive measures have made the situation at the border substantially worse and conditions continue to decline.

Despite the grim situation that is faced by many on their journey, over the past two years thousands of African and Caribbean nationals have traveled through South and Central America alongside others, seeking refuge in the U.S.  Many of them fleeing dangerous situations in their home countries. While all migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. are being subjected to harsh treatment, Black migrants’ situation is made worse by the racism on the part of the Mexican and American governments. Services can be more difficult for black migrants to access because of the lack of language access and translation for migrants speaking any number of African or Caribbean languages, as well as challenges relating to cultural competency.

Law for Black Lives is partnering with Black Alliance for Just Immigration to bring lawyers to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist Black migrants. BAJI believes that a thriving multiracial democracy requires racial social and economic justice for all. Founded in 2006, BAJI educates and engages African American and Black migrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social, and economic justice.

We are asking lawyers and legal workers to work with BAJI’s team in Tijuana to provide legal services to migrants detained in Mexico who are seeking asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. If you are interested in assisting with this effort please fill out this interest form.

[1] 2017, Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Black Lives at the Border.