03/15/2013 09:50 am ET

Black Lawmakers Demand An End To Prison-to-Deportation Pipeline

Washington’s renewed push for immigration reform comes fast on the heels of an election that positioned Latinos as the new deciders. But in all the post-election buzz and the Beltway’s bipartisan agreement that overhauling immigration is the best way to snag Latino votes, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Immigration is, of course, a multiracial issue. And it’s not just a matter of votes but one of justice.

Perhaps last on the list of groups associated with the current immigration debate are the nearly 3.3 million black people who live in the U.S. but weren’t born here. They make up only 9 percent of the immigrant population, a proportion that doesn’t lend itself to political expediency.

Despite the optics, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has made overhauling the system a focus in its official policy agenda for the year. (The others are voter protection and fighting poverty.) It also formed a task force co-chaired by Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a member of the House Judiciary committee—a committee that should hold significant sway in any immigration bill.