Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech is the inspiration behind a new ad challenging President Obama’s Executive Order to provide amnesty and work permits for undocumented immigrants.
Californians for Population Stabilization, or CAPS, paid for the 30-second spot, which is currently airing on CNN and on local Southern California TV stations. It is also gaining views on YouTube.
“On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we must ask ourselves, ‘how he would feel about 19 percent of African Americans being unemployed or under employed?'” the ad aks. “About amnesty and work permits for 4 million illegal aliens when so many Americans are jobless.”
Some Sacramento residents did not agree with the ad.
“Whoa, I just don’t’ know where they are getting their statistics from,” Nilan Whatmore questioned.
“I think it is absolutely inappropriate for the context they put it in,” Jeff Baca said.
“When it comes to illegal immigrants, I think the dream was for everyone,” Alexis Matthews explained.
Being provocative was CAPS intention. The organization wants to send a message that Obama’s executive order would hurt American workers, especially people of color.
“The people who would be most adversely affected would be black Americans and Hispanic Americans who’s unemployment rates are significantly higher than white Americans,” CAPS spokesperson Joe Guzzardi explained.
“It expands the labor pool,” he said. “Every time you add more people into the labor market, the competition for jobs is tougher.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10.5 percent of African Americans, 6.5 percent of Hispanics and 4.6 percents of whites are unemployed. California’s rates are slightly higher than the national average.
The numbers in the ad are nearly double the federal unemployment rates. But, CAPS included under-employed, part-time and those who have given up looking for work in the statistics used in the ad.
While unemployment rates have steadily declined in the last few years, statistics show about twice as many black Americans are out of work compared to whites on the state and national level; unemployment rates for Hispanic Americans are also higher than whites.
The ad doesn’t just talk about unemployment disparities, it uses Dr. King’s dream to send an anti-immigration message.
“I am quite sure that he would prefer that black Americans, citizens should come ahead of illegal immigrants when it comes to work permits and other entitlements that illegal immigrants are getting,” Guzzardi said. “Illegal immigrants are being rewarded through President Obama’s Executive Act.”
Pastor Joy Johnson, President of Sacramento’s Area Congregations Together, or ACT, has a different perspective.
“I think Martin Luther King would have spent his time preaching and lifting up the commonness of our humanity,” she said. “He would not lead us down a road of divisive thinking. Me against you. Now we’re in, so you need to be out.”
Johnson has worked with ACT to support immigration reform. She believes this ad misses the mark on Dr. King’s dream.
“In our Christian faith, there is enough for everyone, but there is some gluttony going on and that is what he would push us to begin to look at.”
The Obama’s executive order took a hit in Congress Wednesday. The House voted to defund it, putting the status of thousands in jeopardy. If the bill makes it through the Senate, Obama has promised to veto it.