Group Invokes Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memory to Fight Illegal Immigration

Published on January 16th, 2015

Warren Mass
January 16, 2015
As seen in:
The New American

Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), an organization that has made a connection between lax federal immigration policies and California’s many socio-economic problems, has launched an ad campaign focusing on the effects of unrestrained immigration on unemployment. CAPS will run the ads on national cable news networks and local Los Angeles TV stations in anticipation of Monday’s holiday in observance of King’s birthday. The ad asks: 

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? About amnesty and work permits for 4 million illegal aliens when so many Americans are jobless.

The ad refers to King’s often-cited “I Have a Dream” speech and asks: 

[What] about giving amnesty and work permits to four million illegal aliens with so many Americans jobless? About admitting one million more immigrant workers in 2015 when 13 percent of Hispanic Americans are having trouble finding work? About Americans of all races not seeing a real wage increase in decades?

Was that Dr. King’s dream?

A press statement posted on the CAPS website indicates that the showing of the ads not only coincides with the MLK holiday, but also offers a timely response to President Obama’s recent executive action “rewarding four million illegal aliens with amnesty and work permits.”

The statement notes that the executive action has come “at a time when millions of African Americans and Hispanic Americans continue to struggle with high unemployment, underemployment and wage stagnation.” 

Joe Guzzardi, national media director for CAPS, noted the contrast between King and Obama, stating:

The great Dr. Martin Luther King promoted equal treatment for all Americans. But President Obama is putting the interests of immigrant workers ahead of American workers who want jobs. Unfortunately, the President’s policies are disproportionately harming the most vulnerable American workers who more often than not are minority Americans. Maybe the President and those in Congress pushing for more immigrant workers have lost sight of Dr. King’s dream?

CAPS also ran a series of radio commercials in Los Angeles last July — at the height of the crisis caused by waves of unaccompanied minors entering the United States illegally — that asked why there was so little coverage of the plight of poor American children in cities such as Los Angeles and why so much coverage of kids from Central America crossing our borders. The ads also decried the lack of media coverage of the Americans “whose jobs and dreams illegal aliens and legal immigrants take.”

“It’s time we all started thinking about immigration policy through the lens of average Americans and not just from the perspective of those from other countries,” Jo Wideman, executive director of CAPS, said in a statement posted on the group’s website.

CAPS offered a 13-point solution to the immigration problem that has affected California disproportionately. Among the points are:

• Provide much-needed protection at our borders and ports.

• Enforce the laws on our books. When an illegal alien comes to the attention of law enforcement, return them to their home countries

• [Enact] tough sanctions for employers who hire illegal aliens. Implement the E-Verify system.

• Support legislation that ensures active cooperation between federal and local law enforcement, facilitating the apprehension and deportation of illegal and criminal aliens.

• Stop encouraging illegal entry by saying “NO” to amnesties, which only result in more illegal immigration.

While CAPS’ references to Dr. King are based partially on conjecture, King’s wife, Corretta Scott King, made some very specific points about the negative effects of illegal immigration on employment prospects for black workers. The Washington Examiner recently published the text of a letter sent by members of the Black Leadership Forum to Senator Orrin Hatch in July 1991, Mrs. King (as vice president of the Forum) being among the signers.

The letter urged Hatch to postpone introduction of legislation repealing sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants. It noted “the importance of employer sanctions to the economic security of African American and Hispanic workers.” The writers stated:

We are concerned, Senator Hatch, that your proposed remedy to the employer sanctions-based discrimination, namely, the elimination of employer sanctions, will cause another problem — the revival of the pre-1986 discrimination against black and brown U.S. and documented workers, in favor of cheap labor — the undocumented workers. This would undoubtedly exacerbate an already severe economic crisis in communities where there are large numbers of new immigrants.

The term “undocumented workers” for illegal alien workers was in use even then, apparently.

During recent debate about immigration legislation, some members of Congress who support the Obama executive actions to shield illegal aliens from deportation have tried to paint Republicans attempting to reverse the actions as heartless, uncompassionate hardliners. One of the most outspoken opponents of strict immigration law enforcement, Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), recently complained: “Only three words describe the Republican approach to immigrants: deportation, deportation, deportation.”

However, while the “progressives” of yesteryear championed the plight of black Americans who experienced high levels of unemployment and had average family incomes that were often below the official poverty level, African Americans seem to have become a forgotten constituency. The pro-amnesty position taken by the Obama administration and its Democrat allies in Congress fails to recognize the message sent by members of the Black Leadership Forum to Senator Orrin Hatch in July 1991 — that large numbers of illegal alien workers worsen the employment prospects of black workers. It is difficult to understand why the supposed compassion that the liberal Democrats in Congress have for illegal aliens does not extend to black Americans whose families have lived in the United States for centuries. They earned their place in the American workforce long ago. Illegal aliens have not.

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