Advocacy and organizing
Too often the voices of Black families in immigration detentions are left unheard. HBA fights against the removal of migrant children from their parents by coordinating actions against the detention of children and family separation. Finally, in 2018, the country stood up against the inhumane and cruel treatment of family separations at the border and in immigration detention centers. Family separation has resurfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Flores court-ordered children to be released from detention, but without their parents.
Black Immigrants Bail Fund
Bonds for Black immigrants can be as high as USD $50,000, making it almost impossible to pay. HBA and the African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA) launched Black Immigrants Bail Fund in June 2020, the first bond fund focusing on Black immigrants to assist them to be reunited with their loved ones.
Welcoming the Strangers
Post-release, detainees can suffer severe trauma related to events that caused them to flee their country of origin, the journey to the U.S./Mexico border, and their time in detention. HBA’s extended volunteer network across the United States provides post detention assistance, picks up asylum seekers from detention and hosts them before reuniting them with their loved ones.
Emergency Rapid Response
Due to COVID-19, HBA started a Rapid Response to assist Black migrants affected by the pandemic in the United States and Tijuana. HBA has created two pilot cash assistance programs to families identified as in need. So far, HBA has assisted 125 Families in Tijuana and 140 families in the United States.
Country Conditions Training
HBA provides country conditions training and legal case strategy to attorneys, legal assistants, and service providers around the country who work with Haitian asylum seekers and other Black migrants. HBA’s legal director provides expert witness affidavits and testimony in immigration court on country conditions in Haiti on behalf of asylum seekers. The training, case strategy, and affidavits educate attorneys, asylum officers, and immigration judges and substantially increases their success with asylum and other forms of protection.
Humanitarian Aid, Medical, and Legal Rights Accompaniment in Tijuana and Tapachula
HBA works at Mexico’s northern and southern borders. HBA’s Mexico Community Organizer, based in Tijuana, coordinates regular delegations of lawyers, doctors, and other volunteers to the San Diego/Tijuana border to provide services and humanitarian relief to Haitian and other Black migrants. In light of COVID-19, HBA has temporarily stopped the delegations.
Detentions-Connecting with Asylum Seekers in immigration Detention Centers
HBA often plays the role of first responders and partners with various organizations to provide culturally informed assistance including country conditions, translation and interpretation, communication with the families, and referrals to legal service providers. HBA regularly visits asylum seekers in detention and assesses their needs, provides translators, connects asylum seekers with legal services, and obtains third-party bonds for their release. In the unfortunate event that a detainee dies in immigration custody, HBA helps their family repatriate the body, request an autopsy and find a civil lawyer.