Civil Rights Commissioner Blasts Obama Amnesty’s ‘Disastrous Effect’ On Black Americans

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Peter Kirsanow

A member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) penned a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, urging the President to consider the effect any executive action granting amnesty to illegal aliens will have on black Americans, a demographic that has fared especially poorly since Obama entered the White House.

Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who sits on the eight-member Federal agency created when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, told the President an executive act of amnesty isn’t good for Americans generally, and it especially isn’t good for blacks.

From Kirsanow’s letter:

I write as one member of the eight-member U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and not on behalf of the Commission as a whole. It has been widely reported in the press that you are preparing to issue an executive order that purports to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants. I write to remind you of the disastrous effect of illegal immigration on the employment of all Americans, but particularly black Americans. Any grant of legal status will serve as a magnet to prospective illegal immigrants and further depress employment opportunities and wages for African-Americans. Given that the labor force participation rate is at an historic low, the unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, and there has been a precipitous decline in household wealth, the timing for such a grant of legal status could not be worse.

Kirsanow went on to cite the USCCR’s own data on how illegal immigration has harmed job opportunities and wage levels among black Americans, referencing a 2008 study that found blacks were affected more profoundly by illegal immigration and its economic consequences than was the general population.

From that report, Kirsanow reminded Obama that “Professor Gordon Hanson’s research showed that ‘Immigration . . . accounts for about 40 percent of the 18 percentage point decline [from 1960-2000] in black employment rates.’ Professor Vernon Briggs writes that illegal immigrants and blacks (who are disproportionately likely to be low-skilled) often find themselves in competition for the same jobs, and the huge number of illegal immigrants ensures that there is a continual surplus of low-skilled labor, thus preventing wages from rising.”

He also takes aim at the Obama Administration’s complicity in encouraging — or, at the very least, certainly not discouraging — illegal immigrants from making the journey across the border:

“Since 1986, we have seen that granting legal status to illegal immigrants, or even mere rumors that legal status will be granted, increases illegal immigration. Likewise, the evidence indicates that the flood of illegal immigrants across our southern border is mostly attributable to your directive granting temporary legal status to people allegedly brought to the United States as children. This is unsurprising. When you incentivize bad behavior, you get more of it.”

There’s much more, including the inherent unfairness of granting amnesty to a horde of illegal aliens while holding aspirants who seek legal status to rigid naturalization standards, as well as the incisive observation that an act of amnesty is, ironically, “at cross-purposes” with the Obama Administration’s stated efforts “to increase employment opportunities” for black Americans.

“The proposed executive order will… necessarily disproportionately benefit people who are Mexican and Central American, which means that it will disproportionately disadvantage other ethnic groups,” Kirsanow writes. “In other contexts, this would be considered a violation of Title VII.”

A violation of Title VII? No problems for Obama there; Eric Holder’s the Attorney General. Title VII only has to work whenever the Obama Administration needs it to.

Read Kirsanow’s full letter here.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.