Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"Illegal Immigration and Black America" by Robert Klein�Engler

"Illegal Immigration and Black America" by Robert Klein�Engler

A goblin is haunting Barack Obama's election campaign to become the Democratic senator from Illinois. That goblin is in the shape of illegal immigration and its impact on Black Americans. The Democrats need the votes of both Latinos and Blacks to win in November, yet this victory may be brought at the expense of Black Americans. Barack Obama cannot talk about this, because to do so he will have to alienate one group or another.

The fact of the matter is, illegal immigration, especially illegal immigration from Mexico, is hurting Black Americans. If Democratic candidates ever getting around to speaking the truth, they will have to tell Black voters that illegal immigration is taking jobs away from Black Americans, cutting into resources available for welfare, and restructuring public schools and many urban areas. In short, the votes of Latinos are brought by the Democrats at the expense of Black America.

Tony Brown, author of What Mama Taught Me, knows all too well how Black Americans are injured by illegal immigration. He writes, '''The U. S. Census Bureau reported in the New York Times...the poor Black and Latino communities lose the most income of any group of Americans, including all Americans who did not finish high school and all Americans who are paying higher taxes to subsidize welfare benefits for illegal immigrants and businesses that hire them. Illegal immigrants overuse welfare benefits and services and underpay income taxes for a net loss to local, state and federal taxpayers.''

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has also documented the detrimental impact of illegal immigration on Black Americans. In California, Blacks are being forced out from communities like South Central, Los Angeles, where they have long lived. ''This once predominantly Black neighborhood is becoming largely Hispanic. South Central is being transformed. Here we talk about 'Black flight.' People are leaving neighborhoods where they have lived for years because they don't feel like they belong any more reports Terry Anderson in the San Francisco Examiner, (Feb. 3, 1999.)"

The Federation for American Immigration Reform continues in its report that, ''Other statistics are also sobering: a GAO study found that a decade of heavy immigration to Los Angeles had changed the janitorial industry from a mostly native Black, unionized workforce to one of non-unionized Latinos, many of whom were illegal aliens. According to the Census, the employment of Black Americans as hotel workers in California dropped 30 percent in the 1980s, while the number of immigrants with such jobs rose 166 percent. A similar story can be told of the garment industry, the restaurant business, hospital work, and public service jobs.'' One can expect Blacks in Illinois to suffer the same declines as illegal immigration from Mexico continues.

Immigration researcher and commentator Roy Beck noted in his 1996 book, The Case Against Immigration that: ''To review the Black side of our nation's immigration tradition is to observe African Americans periodically trying to climb the mainstream economic ladder, only to be shoved aside each time. It is to see one immigrant wave after another climb onto and up that ladder while planting their feet on the backs of Black Americans....The most racist policy in this country for the past 25 years has been our immigration policy, because it has been the worst thing that has happened to Blacks from the federal government since slavery.''

The Harvest Institute also documents the impact of illegal immigration on Black Americans. ''Dr. Claud Anderson, president of The Harvest Institute, a Black research and education organization, announced that The Harvest Institute does not support President Bush's recently proposed amnesty for illegal immigrant aliens and has released an Information Alert (available at Dr. Anderson said, ''Despite the stance of many civil rights groups, immigration's impact on native Blacks and their communities is disproportionate, direct and devastating. Blacks are losing faith because the government continues a pattern of bestowing the rights that should first go to native Blacks to immigrants from foreign countries. Native Blacks are ignored and patronized with symbolic and ceremonial actions by both political parties. The issue of immigration is roiling within Black communities and has become...divisive.''

As the Democrat's ''multicultural'' candidate, Barack Obama has little to say about this multicultural issue. You can read his position papers and look at his website and find no recognition that illegal immigration from Mexico is hurting Black Americans. One has to wonder what kind of immigration policy Obama will vote for if he ever becomes a U. S. Senator. One has to wonder even more why Black Americans continue to vote Democratic, when the Democrats are not looking out for their interests.

The Obama campaign has been silent too long on the issue of illegal immigration and its impact on Black Americans in Illinois. Nor have other prominent Democrats like Mayor Daley of Chicago, or Jesse Jackson and his son spoken out about the impact of this issue. Black Americans like basketball player Michael Jordan, who gave $10,000, also contribute money to the Obama campaign without questioning Obama's stand on illegal immigration. Don't expect a critical voice anytime soon, however, from the Democrats. When it comes to illegal immigration and Black Americans, the Democrats want to have it both ways. We can only hope that this duplicity will lead them to a defeat at the polls in November.

Robert Klein Engler lives in Chicago. He is an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University. His book, A WINTER OF WORDS, about the ethnic cleansing at Daley College, is available from


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