There are about 3 million black immigrants who comprise approximately 9 percent of the nation's foreign-born population. Some of these immigrants have traveled here from poorer countries seeking opportunity; others have sought asylum.
Immigration reform is not about race or ethnicity. It is about building national unity and economic strength, the spirit of hard work, and common-sense solutions that are equal and fair for everyone no matter where they come from.
For many Americans, our country's African heritage becomes real for one week every year during the December 26th-January 1st Kwanzaa celebration. We need to move beyond this week-long celebration to a fuller recognition of Africans' ongoing contributions to our community and nation.
Where remittances are often sent in response to family and community needs, diaspora bonds are a direct investment in the economy at the national level. Even though they are being explored for the first time by African governments, the idea of issuing diaspora bonds is not new.
Since 2001, I have periodically reconsidered why I am still here and the last three years even more so. Between terrorism and the financial crisis, most Africans, even from war-ridden countries are reconsidering.