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Organization Profile: 


5 Fast Facts on Black Immigrants For Black History Month

WASHINGTON - For Black History Month, the New York Immigration Coalition is highlighting the unique issues facing the black immigrant community in America– often overlooked and unseen, even as they have quadrupled from 800,000 to 3.8 million over the last four decades.

President Trump has made repeated remarks that demean black immigrants– saying that Nigerian immigrants do not want to “go back to their huts,” and that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS”, and more recently that black immigrants should go back to “shithole countries.” Additionally he and his administration ended or attacked programs that black immigrants have benefited from, like Temporary Protected Status, Diversity Visas, and family reunification.

Kemah George, the daughter of Liberian immigrants and Manager of Community Engagement at the NYIC, is available for media interviews at

Bakary Tandia, Case Manager and Policy Advocate at African Services Committee, is available for media interviews at

Amaha Kassa, founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together, is available for media interviews at

Fast Facts on Black immigrants:

1. Black immigrants are 9% of the U.S. black population. They come from the following top five countries: Jamaica (693,000), Haiti (654,000), Nigeria (304,000), Ethiopia (237,000), and Trinidad and Tobago (171,000). In the New York metro area, black immigrants make up more than 1 out of every 4 black residents (28% of the population).


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2. The majority of black immigrants are here legally. 54% of black immigrants are U.S. citizens. Of the sub-Saharan immigrants who have become legal permanent residents, 17% came through the Diversity Visa program and about 22% of African immigrants are refugees. African countries receive nearly half nearly (46%) of all diversity visas.

Most Caribbean immigrants obtain lawful permanent residence status in the United States through three main channels: qualifying as immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, through family reunification, or refugee and asylum relief.

3. In 2012, 575,000 black immigrants were undocumented, accounting for 16% of all black immigrants. Roughly 3%, or 36,000 African immigrants would have been eligible for DACA.

4. 29% of black immigrants 25 and older hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree. The education attainment rates for black immigrants are similar to those for native-born Americans at 32% and 31%, respectively. Specifically, African immigrants average about 14 years of schooling, while native-born Americans average about 13.5 years.

5. The NYIC’s Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative (BIEI) is the first initiative in New York – and one of the first in the country – to focus on supporting New York’s black immigrant-led, community-based organizations and legal service providers. BIEI members engage African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino community members through outreach, direct legal services, advocacy, and mobilization efforts that integrate the black immigrant experience into the greater immigrant rights movement and intersectional movements such as Black Lives Matter.

BIEI is led by six member organizations - African Services Committee, African Communities Together, Brooklyn Defenders Service, CAMBA, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, and Sauti Yetu – and engages dozens more in partnerships.


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The New York Immigration Coalition aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all.  The NYIC promotes immigrants’ full civic participation, fosters their leadership, and provides a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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