“You’re going to have this massive influx of immigrants into the country that are better equipped—they don’t have your legacies, they don’t have your disadvantages, they are walking across the border, they’re going to get a free lunch, they don’t have to pay dues. But you got public policies in this country that are equating them to black folk. And what we’ve allowed them to do, starting in 1970, is to wrap themselves in black folks’ suffering and to pretend, somehow, they’ve suffered along with black folk. And, therefore, whatever program is created under this misguided label called minority, they’re equal to you and over you.”
Like most people within my community, I found President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policy to be somewhat problematic. That was until I started doing some research on how it will affect Black Americans. The racial wealth gap which shows that Black Americans will need 228 years to amass as much wealth as our white counterparts and the Latino community will only need 84 years, was the first red flag. But once I delved into the unemployment disparities that stemmed from undocumented as well as documented immigrants, my entire mindset changed.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed a lawsuit filed against a temporary staffing agency, Personnel Staffing Group. One of their clients, MVP Staffing, was accused of discriminating against African-American men in favor of Hispanic workers. They would use code words, in Spanish, to weed out the Black applicants from being assigned to their sites. One of the plaintiffs, Norman Green, was very vocal about the discrimination.
He described arriving at the agency early, around 4 or 5 a.m., with his steel-toe boots on and ready to work, signing his name at the top of a check-in paper. He said he would sit for hours and wait while Hispanics would arrive and be sent out to work sites right away. But the agencies would tell him to come back, he said, so he would borrow money from friends and family to make the trip and get there early only to sit and wait again.
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner, Peter Kirsanow, discussed the competition between blacks, particularly Black men, and Hispanics in the low-skilled labor market. Due to the lower wages offered to illegal workers by the employer, blacks are often at the losing end of this battle.
“It’s not because low skilled American workers, regardless of race, are unwilling to perform such jobs, it is that they are unwilling to do such jobs at the cut-rate wages and sometime sub-standard working conditions tendered to illegal immigrants,” Kirsanow said, noting illegal immigrants are unlikely to complain to government agencies about those poor working conditions.
Kirsanow also stated that “illegal immigration cuts wages for blacks, and that makes Black men ‘less appealing’ to potential spouses, and one that a 10 percent increase in immigration relates to a 1.3 percent higher incarceration rate for blacks.” Director of Research for the Center of Immigration Studies, Steven A. Camarota, added that “from 2007 to 2015, there were 1.3 million fewer native born workers employed and 1.8 million more immigrant workers.”
Some of you may be perplexed about the idea of blacks and immigrants competing with each other for jobs. I mean, you see the illusions daily: Black athletes and entertainers doing very well for themselves and their families. So our condition can’t be that bad, right?
Founder of BreakingBrown.com, Yvette Carnell, has done a great job at addressing the wealth imbalance between Black Americans and other immigrant groups.
The data from this chart was taken from researchers at The Samuel Dubois Cook Center. If you look closely at the numbers you will see that U.S. blacks are in the same bracket as Mexicans in two of those major cities. Not only are we lacking household wealth, but we are competing with other immigrant groups who have a substantial amount.
I want to encourage my community to start putting our own self-interests first, and that means pulling away from outsiders who don’t care about or understand our situation. It’s not about being divisive, it’s about facing reality. Democrats will preach xenophobia to us as if the struggles of immigrants and the narratives of Black Americans are all-inclusive; Black celebrities will spout white liberal kumbaya in an effort to smoke-screen the debt owed that continues to be ignored; immigrants of color will make criticism about our plight as if they are qualified to even question the social, economic, and political ideology of a group of people whose lineage in this country trace back further than theirs combined.
Many, dare I say all, still don’t see the uniqueness of Black America. Our roots may have started in another country, but our ancestors did not migrate to the United States, they were imported. Therefore, we have even more of a right to stake a claim because this is our home and it was built by us. Which means that our citizenship, as well as agenda, shouldn’t be overlooked in order to cater to a group of people who aren’t anchored in the history of this country.
Until Next Time…
Bedard, P. (16, March 16). Expert: Amnesty, illegal immigration, hits black wages hardest. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/expert-amnesty-illegal-immigration-hits-black-wages-hardest/article/2585963
Darity, W., Jr. (n.d.). Class, Wealth, and Social Mobility. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from https://socialequity.duke.edu/research/wealth
Elejalde-Ruiz, A. (2016, December 7). Discrimination suit alleges black temp workers passed over for Hispanics. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-discrimination-temporary-staffing-1207-biz-20161206-story.html
Holland, J. (2016, August 8). The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from https://www.thenation.com/article/the-average-black-family-would-need-228-years-to-build-the-wealth-of-a-white-family-today/
May, C. (2016, May 16). U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner: Illegal Immigration Disproportionately Harms Black Americans. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/03/16/u-s-civil-rights-commissioner-illegal-immigration-disproportionately-harms-black-americans/