Obama’s Attention to Border Crisis Outrages African-Americans
Many blacks, who twice voted for Obama in record numbers to elect him — and keep him — as the nation’s first African-American president, are angry that he has neglected the problems facing inner cities while working on the border crisis.
These big-city ills include chronic black unemployment, poor housing conditions, steep prices for food and services, low high-school graduation rates, and high crime rates.
“Black people are being played,” Herman Cain, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, told Newsmax. “They have been taken for granted by Democrats for decades. Now they’ve reached a boiling point with this whole crisis on the border, and some of them are speaking out.”
By all accounts and as reported by Brietbart.com, the number of Border Patrol arrests of illegal immigrants since Oct. 1 stands at 174,000 and is still rising.
Cain and other African-American conservatives charge that Obama “manufactured this crisis” through a 2012 executive order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The DACA ended the threat of deportation for as many as 670,000 illegals between the ages of 15 and 31 who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. In June, the administration extended the program for two more years.
“We’ve got a real crisis in every major inner city in this country,” Cain said. “They’ve done exactly nothing to understand the problem, let alone do anything about it.”
Anita MonCrief, board member of the Black Conservatives Fund, told Newsmax that African-Americans have long been “sour on Obama.”
“This is just the first time they’ve been fed up enough to say something about it.
“People were afraid to speak out because it was unpopular to be black and not be a supporter of Obama,” MonCrief said. “The immigration crisis has brought all of this to a head to the point where people feel that they are compelled to speak out.”
The community’s first outcry came on Independence Day, when angry African-Americans confronted pro-immigration sympathizers in Murrieta, Calif. Two hundred residents blocked busloads of illegal minors who were being brought to a Border Patrol station in that city. Six people were arrested.
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The next week, outraged residents in Chicago gathered outside a police station to protest Obama’s neglect of the city’s many crime-ridden neighborhoods, Rebel Pundit reported.
So far, 229 residents — mostly African-Americans — have died from gunfire in the Windy City this year, DNAInfoChicago.com reports.
One enraged South Side resident predicted that Obama, whose Senate district included Chicago, would finish his term as “one of the worst presidents ever.”
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“Do something for our children,” another man declared.
Referencing the Chicago demonstrations, MonCrief said, “When your children start dying because of senseless violence, political affiliations mean nothing.”
Garry Cobb, a former professional football player who is a Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey, recently told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV that blacks all over the country were upset with the poor response by the administration to their concerns.
“You can see that African-Americans are not doing well,” he said, adding that the president “hasn’t really done anything for the African-American community” in his six years in the White House.
“We’ve got to do much better than that — and I don’t think he’s done a good job,” Cobb said.
Alveda King, a Newsmax columnist who visited the south Texas border last month to help distribute food and supplies to illegals housed in shelters there, called the furor among blacks understandable.
“Naturally, African-Americans are very compassionate people,” she said. “We are, but it’s hard when you’re hungry, or when you’re in jail, or when you’re suffering, to be excited about someone who should be caring about you who is looking over you to help somebody else.
“I saw the little children. I prayed with them. I cried,” King added. “We should help them, but you need to help the people at home as well.”
Whatever executive actions Obama takes on immigration, the greatest impact they will likely have is on African-American employment. Studies show that blacks, particularly young men with little or no education, have been most affected by illegal immigration.
The majority of illegals entering the United States are male and are generally willing to work for less money than native-born workers, regardless of race, and often under poorer working conditions.
Further, a June report by the Center for Immigration Studies disclosed that all of the nation’s job growth since 2000 went to immigrants, both legal and illegal. The study showed a strong climb in the number of illegals in the workforce, compared with native-born citizens of all races.
While national unemployment figures are down from last year at this time, when the black jobless rate was 12.6 percent, this July marked a continuation of disturbing numbers. The national unemployment rate rose to 11.4 percent for blacks, versus an overall jobless rate of 6.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The June rate for African-Americans was slightly lower, at 10.7 percent, and it was 11.5 percent in May.
“In many low-skilled or unskilled occupations, in large swaths of the country, illegal immigrants have supplanted blacks — throwing lots of blacks out of work,” said Peter Kirsanow, an African-American Republican who is a member of the Civil Rights Commission.
The panel held a hearing in 2008 on how illegal immigration specifically affected blacks, bringing together a broad range of experts on the issue. It produced a report two years later.
In it, for instance, University of California economist Gordon Hanson testified that blacks lost more than 1 million jobs to illegals between 1960 and 2000. Yale University professor Gerald Jaynes testified that immigrants had supplanted African-Americans in many industries that had employed blacks for decades — including agriculture, construction, and meat-packing.
Racism by employers and other factors in the hiring of illegals over African-Americans were also cited by the experts at the hearing. They also tied the long-term joblessness among blacks created by illegal immigration to other such problems as high black incarceration rates.
“It affects not just those who lost jobs, but their relatives and families, people who used to depend on them for support,” Kirsanow told Newsmax. “The devastating effects are pretty dramatic.
“It’s not just loss of income, loss of jobs, but it impedes family formation. People who don’t have jobs are not likely to get married,” he added. “It has an effect on educational rates and crime rates.”
Illegal immigration affects all workers, Kirsanow said, because it keeps all wages down — especially those in lower-skilled occupations.
“Even for those who keep their jobs, or can find jobs, the influx of surplus illegal labor that’s willing to work at a lower wage, and maybe under substandard conditions, serves to depress the wage rates of people who do have jobs,” he said. “That’s not just blacks; it’s everybody who competes in those categories of employment with illegal immigrants. Blacks are disproportionally affected.”
If Obama does grant work permits to millions of illegals, it will expand competition with African-Americans into new job areas, said Steven Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies.
“Illegal immigrants can be found almost anywhere in the economy, but there’s a lot of jobs they don’t tend to work in — and those are the jobs that African-Americans do,” he said.
These fields include mail- and package-delivery services and interstate trucking, Camarota said.
“Illegal immigrants don’t do them. Employers have to vet them to make sure they don’t have criminal records,” he said. “Those are the kinds of jobs they would be able to move into and face direct competition with African-Americans.”
Historically, blacks have never supported immigration reform, polls dating as far back as 1983 show.
More recently, a March 2013 survey by the Center for Immigration Studies and Pulse Opinion Research found that 63 percent of black respondents backed tougher immigration enforcement methods.
Those included fortifying the border and tightening verification efforts. Forty-four percent said the federal government was not doing enough to enforce the law.
“To assume that African-Americans don’t like enforcement, don’t want the law enforced, that would be a mistake,” said Camarota, who worked on the survey. “A very large fraction of African-Americans want enforcement.”
But what has particularly irked many blacks, especially conservatives, on this issue is that the nation’s traditional African-American leaders — virtually all of whom are Democrats — have been silent on stronger immigration enforcement.
They generally espouse the Obama administration’s position on the border issue as “a humanitarian crisis” and urge comprehensive reform. They also attack Republicans for their opposition — in many cases hinting at bigotry in their criticism.
“Immigration is consistent with our values as a nation and as an Urban League movement, and it is consistent with our commitment to civil rights and social justice,” national Urban League President Marc Morial said at the organization’s convention in Cincinnati last month. “The proposed solutions have not been perfect, but they are better than the broken system that we have — and it’s now time to fix it.”
The NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus have taken similar positions. Neither group responded to Newsmax’s queries for comment.
Last month, the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, attacked the California protesters in an op-ed piece for the Huffington Post, though he acknowledged that a fortified border was “vital to our own security.”
“How can we sleep at night if we send kids back to areas where they face the very real possibility of being killed, kidnapped or trafficked?” Sharpton asked.
The NAN did not respond to Newsmax’s requests for comment.
Just before the Chicago protest last month, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called on Obama to send $2 billion to help the city battle its problems.
“If we can find $4 billion for those children, and we should, we can find $2 billion for Chicago,” Jackson said at a news conference, WBBM-AM reported. “There are more children involved, and more have been killed, and more have been shot.”
But two days later, he walked back the comments on Fox News, refusing to say directly whether Obama was neglecting inner cities in favor of the border crisis.
“I don’t think it’s time to slam anybody,” he told Greta Van Susteren. “We cannot turn our back on the children of the border, nor the children of Lawndale and Roseland and Austin as well,” he said, referring to several strapped communities in the Windy City.
Kirsanow has spent the past two years writing letters to Obama, congressional leaders, and CBC President Rep. Marcia Fudge, who represents Ohio. Citing data from the 2008 hearing, he warned that illegal immigration has devastated African-American employment.
Two other Civil Rights Commission members have joined Kirsanow in some of the letters, but sent the correspondence as private persons because their position did not reflect that of the full panel. The eight-member commission includes six Democrats and liberal-leaning independents.
Fudge’s district includes inner-city Cleveland, where Kirsanow told Newsmax he lives with his wife. They have two adult children.
“I hear nothing from [the officials],” Kirsanow said, laughing. “It’s radio silence. . . We’ve gotten no response.
“They don’t want to talk about this subject — and when they do, they do so without knowledge of the facts, and they embarrass themselves.”
MonCrief was more blunt, accusing black leaders of fostering a “new overseer system” that has been carried over from slavery.
“Unfortunately, more blacks are still in the same type of plantation condition that we were in during slavery — but now it’s mental and it’s being done mostly by our own people,” she said. “We keep each other in line.”
Conservatives also asserted that the bottom line on immigration is Obama’s attempt to solidify the White House for future Democrats.
Ninety-five percent of the blacks who voted in 2008 did so for Obama — and 93 percent did the same four years later, according to the Federal Election Commission. By contrast, 67 percent of Hispanics voted for Obama in 2008, while 71 percent did so in 2012.
“They want 11 million more votes down the road, because illegals would be beholden to the Democratic Party if they are able to pull this scheme off,” Cain told Newsmax.
“Hispanics are the new black,” MonCrief charged. “Gay is the new black. Anything but black is the new black.
“Our concerns don’t matter. We’re such a ready and secure vote — it’s always there — that there’s no need to do anything” for African-Americans, she said. “There’s no recourse.”
The Republicans told Newsmax that the best way to end illegal immigration in the United States is to send all illegals — including minors — back to their home countries, abolish the DACA, and secure the border.
“There must be compassion,” King said. “If the children have to go home, make sure they get back safely. Make sure they don’t starve in the process.”
African-Americans must remain vigilant and continue speaking out — even though Obama will be out of office in two years, Kirsanow said.
“Now is the time when everybody should be getting their voices heard,” he said. “We may be looking at the tip of the iceberg if any kind of amnesty is passed.
“We’re going to see even more illegal immigrants coming across the border,” he said.
“There’s going to be more competition for a finite number of jobs in a depressed economy. We’re going to have a further downward pressure on wage rates.”
Otherwise, unemployment rates for African-Americans, especially young black men, will skyrocket, Kirsanow told Newsmax.
“This can’t continue,” he said.