Published on November 13th, 2011

This week President Obama pandered to a group of black business owners, political and community leaders by stating that his policies "were designed with African-Americans in mind," (Obama seeks ideas on reducing Black joblessness).   During the presentation, he shared a report (The President's Agenda & The African American Community) showcasing the various ways that his policies have benefited Black Americans.  The report highlights programs that provide: Tax relief for virtually all working families, subsidized jobs for low-income adults and youth and to reform K-12 and early education through innovative, new programs, just to name a few.  In none of the 44 pages of the report did President Obama state that he would stem the flow of illegal aliens and immigrants into the country.

It is often said that when White America gets a cold, Black America gets the flu.  Since President Obama's "fixes" for the economy, White America has the flu & Black America has pneumonia.  An unemployment rate of 9% (14 million) across America and an unemployment rate of 15% (2.7 million) for Black America has become the norm. Of the 2.7 million unemployed Black Americans, 1.3 million, or 48%, of those are Black men aged 20 and older according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In October 2010, the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) released a report (Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages & Employment of Black Workers) that specifically studied the impact of illegal immigration on Black Americans.  However, in some cases, the report explored the impact of immigration on Blacks in general.  Although the report did not provide sweeping recommendations, they did have some interesting observations:

Dr. Hanson‘s coauthored research suggested that a 10 percent immigrant-induced increase in the labor supply is associated with a 4 percent decrease in black wages, a 3.5 percent decrease in the black employment rate, and a 0.8 percent increase in the black incarceration rate…black men lost proportionally more jobs and disproportionally increased in incarceration rates.

In both his written and oral testimony, Professor Briggs stated that no issue has negatively "affected the economic well-being of African Americans more" than immigration.  His view is that blacks have been…victims of job losses and lowered wages as a result of the mass, low-skilled immigration that has occurred since 1965.  Dr. Briggs also stated that the inflow of immigrants has resulted in low-skilled wages not rising over time.  He viewed the reduction of both wages and jobs as a massive violation of the civil rights of all low-skilled workers, and of black workers in particular. He recommended, therefore, that the federal government should adhere to the findings of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX): "People who should get in, do get in; people who should not get in, are kept out; and people who are judged deportable, are required to leave."

Dr. Holzer‘s [studies] nothed that employers filling low-wage jobs that require little reading/writing or communication, clearly prefer immigrants to native-born blacks, and encourage informal networks through which immigrants gain better access to these jobs.

Dr. Hotchkiss‘s conclusions were that 1) wages will be higher in the absence of undocumented workers; 2) employment will not necessarily be higher, and may even be lower, in the absence of undocumented workers; and 3) any effective policy that increases undocumented workers‘ employment and grievance rights will lead to higher wages for all workers on average.

Dr. Camarota concluded that there is no debate that 1) immigration generally increases the supply of low-skilled workers; 2) a significant share of native-born blacks are more likely to be in labor competition with immigrants; and 3) employment and wages have declined for less-educated men. However, he believed that the question of whether immigration reduces wages or employment among black Americans was not entirely settled, but that if one is concerned about the prospects of less-educated workers in the country, it would be difficult to justify continuing high levels of immigration that disproportionately affect the bottom end of the labor market.

Many in the Black community are split on the subject of illegal immigration (African-American leaders oppose immigration bill, but some don't).  However, with these findings in hand and other empirical evidence, one wonders why the Congressional Black Caucus (Immigration reduction grades), self-proclaimed Black leaders such as Al Sharpton (Sharpton headlines rally against new illegal immigration law)  and President Obama himself continue to push for 21st-century amnesty.

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