Episode 29: Patrice Lawrence - "Black & Undocumented"
Few topics can be as politically polarizing as immigration. The idea of who and how a person enters a country often triggers a very emotional response, irrespective of political ideology.
In the United States, this has been an ongoing conversation for seemingly forever. As a nation whose very foundations has been built on immigration, legal, illegal and forced, every presidential administration had to grapple with the issue.
But in recent years, it has become a mainstay topic in political theater, particularly when you talk about the undocumented.
As you can imagine for obvious reasons, it can be difficult to get exact numbers. But as of right now, it is estimated that anywhere between 3.2% and 3.5% of the U.S. population is living in the U.S. without legal status. That translates to somewhere around 10 to 12 million people. Of those, approximately 600,000 are estimated to be undocumented or unauthorized Black individuals.
It is for this reason that the UnDocuBlack Network was formed, a community based organization that addresses the nuanced experiences of the Black undocumented population in the U.S.
Patrice Lawrence currently serves as Co-Director of the organization and in this episode shares her personal insight as well as the stigma and stress of being undocumented in the United States. She explains the complexity of the different types of immigration statuses, the impact of the day to day when you’re unauthorized, and how antiblackness can further exacerbate an already tenuous situation.
International mobility happens for all kinds of reasons. And in this episode, we’re exploring one version that sometimes makes for uncomfortable conversations.
- How the undocumented experiences of Black individuals differ from others groups
- The specific reasons behind undocumented status
- What is sacrificed when you don’t have legal status
- The necessary supports UnDocuBlack provides for its community
To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.