AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Presents the UndocuBlack Network with the 2023 Arthur C. Helton Memorial Human Rights Award

6/5/23 AILA Doc. No. 23060201.

Monday, June 5, 2023

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes UndocuBlack Network with the 2023 Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award for outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights.

The UndocuBlack Network (UBN) is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources, and contributes to transforming the realities of Black people so that they are thriving and living their fullest lives.

UndocuBlack was founded in 2016 and their vision is to have truly inclusive immigrant rights and racial justice movements that advocate for the rights of Black undocumented individuals, provide healing spaces, and community to those with intersecting identities. In April 2023, UndocuBlack Network was the winner of the Frederick Douglass award.

AILA and UndocuBlack have partnered several times recently to provide essential educational resources and an informed perspective on the unjust circumstances surrounding immigration policy with regards to Black immigrant communities. UndocuBlack was featured in a recent AILA roundtable “Immigration is a Black Issue” facilitated by AILA Past President Allen Orr in honor of Black History Month.

Further, UndocuBlack has taken a leadership role in national and international campaigns including the fight for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and the passage of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act. The organization has worked closely with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on efforts to pass the Dream Act as well. Another major stand out program is UndocuBlack’s intentional development of a mental wellness program for its members to improve access to much needed health resources by the Black undocumented community who suffer from racist immigration policy and the trauma of fleeing violence and devastation in their home countries. Their work has directly resulted in positive change in the area of human rights.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.