Root TV: He’s Black, “Illegal” & Torn Over Obama’s New Immigration Actions

Jonathan Jayes-Green bravely came forward to weigh in on how the president’s recent executive actions on immigration will affect his life, and why it is imperative that we connect the dots between the distrust that black citizens and black undocumented immigrants have for law enforcement.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article and Root TV segment was published at The Root on December 15, 2014.

Jonathan Jayes-Green immigrated to the U.S. from Panama when he was 13, but it wasn’t until his senior year in high school, when he began to fill out college applications and financial-aid forms, that he realized how much of an impact his status as an undocumented immigrant would have on his ability to attend college and climb the ladder in America.

But for Jayes-Green, the college process was just the tip of the iceberg as he considered how differently and cautiously some undocumented immigrants have to go about living their lives in the United States. Jayes-Green is Panamanian, but in America he’s a black man first and foremost. And even though Americans tend to think of immigration reform as an issue that largely affects Hispanics, there is a sizable population of black undocumented immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa who are now living, learning and working in the U.S., just like Jayes-Green. They, too, will be affected by President Obama’s recent executive actions that will shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

In The Root TV segment above, Jayes-Green speaks with The Root’s Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele about his experiences and sheds light on the similar concerns that black citizens and undocumented communities have about being unfairly targeted by law enforcement.

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