Recently, the State Department announced a change to the Diversity Visa (DV) online application that would require applicants to provide their current passport information. In the past, someone who wanted to register for DV didn't need a passport until he/she was selected to actually apply for the visa (only 100,000 out of the roughly 14 million applicants are selected to apply for a diversity visa.) This allowed applicants to avoid the expense and logistical hurdles involved with securing a passport until they knew they would need one.
ACT opposes this change because it will disadvantage people who don't have a passport and who will have a hard time getting one in time to fill out the application, namely, Africans.
The Diversity Visa Program is United States government program many use to receive a United States Permanent Resident Card. The visa category allocates 50,000 visas to individuals from countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S. Citizens from African countries tend to benefit the most from the diversity visa.
ACT recently submitted a comment detailing our opposition. Read the comment here.
For Immediate Release Thursday, June 20, 2019
Press Contact: Assefash Makonnen
E-mail: Assefash@africans.us On World Refugee Day, Hundreds Protest the Deaths of Immigrants and Refugees in ICE/CBP Detention
June 20th, 2019
New York, NY -- On the occasion of World Refugee Day, a global day in honor of refugees, hundreds of New Yorkers mobilized for the third annual World Refugee Day March and Rally. This year, marchers called on members of Congress to reject the criminalization of refugees and asylum seekers and support the expansion of humanitarian immigration policies, like H.R.6, the Dream and Promise Act.
The protest, organized by the City of Refuge Coalition, condemned the deaths of six migrant children that have died in the custody of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) since September 2018, as well as the detention and caging of refugees and asylum seekers. Marchers wheeled a cage containing children’s stuffed animals wearing emergency blankets symbolizing detained children and those who have died in custody. Speakers denounced conditions at detention facilities that some advocates and historians have compared to concentration camps.
The Coalition also announced the introduction of new state legislation, S6521 (Bailey), which would cap the fees that asylum seekers and other detained immigrants pay immigration bail bond companies. Organizers called on New York State legislators to reform New York’s immigration bail bond system and enable asylum seekers by passing the bill into law.
“It’s not enough for our New York officials to condemn the caging of refugees and asylum seekers. We need them to do everything in their power to get refugees out,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together. “Fighting predatory immigration bonds and funding nonprofit immigration bail funds are concrete steps New York can take to welcome refugees and keep families together.”
"The Trump deportation machine is doing everything it can to slam the doors on people fleeing horrific violence and persecution," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "On World Refugee Day, we come together to recognize the resilience, of refugees while demanding that this administration recognize its moral and legal obligation to adhere to its international obligation to protect the most vulnerable people amongst us--the asylum seekers who have left everything behind just to achieve a measure of safety."
African Communities Together Supports
Modernizing New York’s Deceptive Practices Act (GBL § 349)
African Communities Together (ACT) applauds Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou for introducing S2407 and A679, respectively, to modernize the Deceptive Practices Act (GBL § 349) and provide protections against unfair and unlawful acts. Shamefully, the consumer protections that New York currently provides lags behind general business statutes in at least 39 other states.
March 28th, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Joint Statement on the Liberian DED lawsuit, African Communities Together v. Trump:
Hearing on preliminary injunction and other updates
Washington, DC - This afternoon an expedited hearing for a preliminary injunction on the case African Communities Together v. Trump was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman. The lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) for Liberians. DED is a humanitarian immigration program closely related to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which DED beneficiaries, many of whom have resided in the U.S. for over 20 years, previously held.
However, in response to a memorandum from the White House earlier today extending the wind-down period for Liberian DED for an additional 12 months and advancing the termination date to March 31, 2020, the plaintiffs withdrew the motion for a preliminary injunction during today’s hearing and the lawsuit will continue in its normal course.
For Immediate Release
March 8, 2019
BOSTON, MA –The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights jointly filed a lawsuit today challenging President Donald Trump’s termination of humanitarian protection and relief for immigrants from Liberia. The lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, was filed on behalf of African Communities Together (ACT), the UndocuBlack Network, and fifteen affected individuals, including Liberians raising U.S. citizen children. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The lawsuit challenges President Trump’s March 27, 2018 decision to terminate Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED), a life-saving immigration program, marshalling evidence of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and/or national origin in violation of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is a humanitarian program that protects approximately 4,000 Liberian immigrants in the United States. Over the past two decades, DED was renewed under both Republican and Democrat administrations because of environmental disasters and armed conflict in Liberia. President Trump’s decision to terminate DED marked an abrupt departure from the practice established by previous administrations. Under DED, Liberians have been able to to live, work, and raise U.S. citizen children.
Have you heard the recording going around African social media from a worker at JFK Airport?
The anonymous worker describes seeing a traveler at the airport having her green card taken away, allegedly for receiving public benefits. Can this really happen?
ACT Executive Director and immigration attorney Amaha Kassa addresses the rumors and explains the legal information you need if you are a green card holder who's preparing to travel.
Listen now by clicking here.
Please join the members, staff, and Board of African Communities Together at a celebration of 5 years of African immigrants making change!
Featuring African food (heavy appetizers), African music, and African people!
At the historic National Black Theatre in Harlem.
Honorees to be announced.
Purchase tickets online by clicking here.
Purchasing a sponsorship and prefer to pay by check, or need an invoice? Download the sponsorship form here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (646) 618-1010.
5th Anniversary Celebration
October 25, 2018, 6:30 PM
The National Black Theatre
2031 5th Ave, New York, NY 10035
Since 2016, ACT has been fighting for the thousands of immigrants from Liberia who are in the US under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.
Most recently, we helped organize the campaign to extend DED, working with DED holders, the Liberian community, African organizations, and allies from around the country to lobby Congress, rally, and speak out to save this important program.
Today, we learned that the Trump Administration will terminate the program, after a one year transition period.
Given the Administration's record, there was a real risk that Liberians would lose status immediately, which would have been a disaster. This reprieve is a direct result of our community's advocacy.
But it's not enough. We need permanent status for Liberians, many of whom have been in the US for decades and have US citizen children.
We will continue to fight, in Congress, in the courts, and in the streets to make our immigration system more fair and humane.
See our full statement below. And please support our work by making a donation.
PBS NewsHour recently covered New York City's expanded translation of voter registration forms, and highlighted ACT's work on language access for New York's African communities: