The Black Immigration Network’s (BIN) National convening in late April 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia marked an exceptionally difficult period for black immigrants, African Americans and other people of color. Despite the rhetoric that the election of Barack Obama has ushered in a new “post-racial era”, individual, institutional and structural racism is still alive and well in the U.S. and across the world. All of our communities are besieged by the effects of a society-wide economic crisis; the demonization and criminalization of people of color, including immigrants; and a surge in racist ideology and white supremacist groups as well as racist and xenophobic federal, state and local laws and policies. The case of Trayvon Martin is only the latest example of a virulent trend in U.S. society.
On the issue of immigration, the rightwing framework still holds considerable sway in the U.S., especially, but not only, among white people. The frame posits that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants are criminals, pose a threat to national security, suck jobs and resources from native born Americans, and threaten the national identity of white citizens. Increasing militarization of the border, aggressive detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, limited labor rights and restrictions on public benefits for immigrants are key demands of anti-immigrant groups.