Guest Commentary / January 31, 2019

Black America Pays the Biggest Price for Illegal Immigration

The ongoing impasse over border security should spell the end of the Democrats’ virtual monopoly on the African American vote.

By Darrell Scott

The ongoing impasse over border security should spell the end of the Democrats’ virtual monopoly on the African American vote.

In the 2018 midterm elections, 90 percent of black Americans voted for Democrats. When asked by pollsters, 73 percent of them said they oppose President Trump’s proposal to build a border wall, yet roughly two-thirds identified border security as “an important issue.”

This apparent contradiction reveals that while Democrat rhetoric still retains some power to captivate black voters, we can’t be deceived about the matters that directly impact us most.

No group in America has suffered more from decades of unchecked illegal immigration than African Americans, yet Democrats expect us to complacently go along with their recent shift from supporting moderate border security measures to staunchly opposing any and all efforts to enforce America’s immigration laws.

The fact is, though, there isn’t a single reason for black Americans, even black Democrats, to align themselves with the open-borders ideologues of the contemporary Democrat Party. A previous generation of Democrats recognized the importance of border security to the African American community, but today’s Democrats either don’t understand our concerns, or don’t care about them.

President Bill Clinton, for instance, appointed a black Democrat, congresswoman and civil rights leader Barbara Jordan of Texas, to chair the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform in 1993. It was Jordan who said, 25 years ago, that “Our patience is growing thin toward those attempting to overwhelm the will of the American people by acts that ignore, manipulate, or circumvent our immigration laws,” and it was she who called for sweeping measures to curb illegal immigration and limit mass migration.

As a black leader, Jordan had every reason to be concerned. Generally speaking, illegal immigrants make the job market better for employers and less favorable for workers, but the losses aren’t distributed evenly. Job and wage losses fall on the shoulders of African Americans, especially African American men, to a massively disproportionate degree.

Part of this has to do with education level, because those with less education are the most vulnerable to competition from cheap illegal immigrant labor. Unfortunately, nearly one-in-six black men lack a high school diploma, compared to around one-in-13 white men.

Illegal immigrants are on average much more poor and much less educated than native-born Americans. Contrary to oft-repeated rhetoric about “jobs Americans won’t do,” the reality is that the jobs they take are just the ones that the pampered people from our political and mainstream media classes don’t want to do. The jobs where immigrants, and especially illegal immigrants, make up a significant share of the workforce are the very jobs that offer the greatest opportunities for less-educated and poorer Americans.

History has shown time and again that the threat to African American workers isn’t merely theoretical.

When immigration skyrocketed during the late 1970s and early 1980s, African Americans’ employment gap with whites skyrocketed right along with it. The gap shrunk steadily over the next two decades as both parties pursued more aggressive immigration enforcement policies, only to spike again during the Obama administration. With President Trump now taking a much tougher stand against illegal immigration, the gap has narrowed significantly, resulting in the smallest black-white employment gap ever recorded.

In the 1980s and 90s, the urban black community was ravaged by the crack cocaine epidemic, which at that time was the worst crime and drug crisis in American history. Black wages and employment suffered immensely, while murder and incarceration rates multiplied. Yet, for all the carnage that crack wrought on the inner-city, a study by leading economists found that immigration actually did more damage to the economic prospects of African American men than the drug epidemic.

It’s not only the economics of immigration that disproportionately harm African Americans; we also bear the brunt of the crime that illegal immigrants bring to our communities.

Illegal immigration has brought members of MS-13 and dozens of other transnational criminal gangs into America, and while white victims of illegal alien crimes tend to get most of the media spotlight, white people are far less likely than blacks to live in neighborhoods and towns plagued by gang violence.

The media have largely overlooked the surge in anti-black hate crime that occurs when illegal immigrant gang members move into historically black neighborhoods. Blacks remain more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crimes than whites — and allowing illegal immigrants to flood into our communities only exacerbates that problem.

President Trump has gone to great lengths to make it clear that he understands these realities, but by and large his message has fallen on deaf Democrat ears.

If he were still with us today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would certainly agree that a border wall is necessary to protect the black community from the ravages of illegal immigration. If today’s African American leaders would stay true to Dr. King’s principles rather than listen to what Democrat politicians are telling them to believe, they would likely reach the same conclusion.

Pastor Darrell Scott is CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and a member of the Donald J. Trump for President Inc. advisory board.

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