Clarke Visits the U.S.-Mexico Border:
Voices Concern for African and Caribbean Migrants
(BROOKLYN, New York); Last week, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) traveled to United States-Mexico border by way of the San Ysidro, California Port of Entry to address the crisis of the 4.2 million Black immigrants who are at risk of deportation and arrest due to racial profiling. Clarke joined host Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) whose District extends from the Pacific Ocean across the entire southern border of the state of Arizona, plus Congressional Black Caucus Members Chairwoman Karen Bass (CA-37) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), to witness the conditions at the Southern border.
Clarke said: “To see the conditions at our Southern border with my own eyes as I just did in San Ysidro and Tijuana was soul-crushing. Our country’s immigration crisis is heartbreaking, un-American and will forever leave a stain on our history. The testimonies I heard from migrants, human rights activists, government officials and former asylum officers were not normal. We must never believe it is normal to treat a human being like how Trump and his hate-fueled administration are doing at our Southern border. Trump sees America through a white lens and is using Brown and Black migrant families to propel hate in America and further his anti-immigrant agenda. We have a series of human rights violations on our hands and these innocent individuals are the ones who are suffering.”
During the meeting with African and Caribbean migrants in Tijuana, Congresswoman Clarke heard testimonies of African and Caribbean migrants:
- with post-traumatic stress disorder, whose trauma prevented them from verbally communicating due to non-stop, inconsolable crying
- who reported sexual abuse at the hands of officers and healthcare professionals
- who were separated from their families and stripped of their documentations, so are not able to return home
- who have suffered through serious ailments, starvation and injuries, and have yet to seek help because the resources available are only in Spanish
- who have experienced violence and have been excluded from receiving proper care and basic necessities because of their ethnicity
Congresswoman Clarke also sat in on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization’s Field Hearing on this major violation of human rights. Government officials, asylum officers and advocates for Black migrants at the border testified in order to give a broader perspective of the devastating human rights effects of restrictive and unwelcoming policies that have been adopted by the Trump Administration.
Clarke continued: “As a member of Congress I have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable individuals in this country, and being on the Homeland Security Committee I know keeping our country safe is of utmost importance, but these innocent migrants are simply pawns in Trump’s xenophobic plan to whitewash America. The conditions in which migrants who are stuck at the border ‘live’ is not living, it’s barely holding on—it’s surviving. I am disturbed that the stories of Black migrants remain untold and unheard- their stories matter. Their voices have been heard. Immigration is very much a Black issue and I will never stop fighting for those at our border who are undoubtedly suffering from psychological trauma and long-term damage from being thrown into these horrific conditions at the hands of Donald Trump. We will not back down from the bully who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the trickle-down hate he’s trying very hard to systematize in our country.”
As a second-generation American herself and with a significant immigrant population in New York’s Ninth Congressional District, Congresswoman Clarke has been and continues to be a staunch champion of immigrant rights. Rep. Clarke is an original co-sponsor of the Families, Not Facilities Act of 2019, aimed at limiting ICE’s ability to engage in abuse tactics and inflicting harm upon millions of unaccompanied undocumented children. She continually fights for family unification and is working tirelessly in Congress to protect the more than 1.2 million undocumented individuals residing in New York City.
Congresswoman Clarke serves as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Immigration Task Force and strongly opposes any fiscal budget that includes funding for ICE and the construction of Trump’s vanity border wall.