The following article was provided by the Washington, D.C.-based Project 21, an organization of black conservatives that is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. It is in response to some reports that President Barack Obama is considering using executive power to grant work permits to the nine million or so undocumented aliens living in the country.
If President Barack Obama takes unilateral executive action to grant work permits to millions of illegal aliens, he will hurt black Americans.
It would mean that the president would flood the labor market with workers who compete disproportionately with black Americans. This would increase black unemployment and discourage some blacks from entering the labor market, and, according to some studies, increase black incarceration rates.
• Black Americans are already suffering from higher than average unemployment. The 2013 unemployment rate for blacks with no high school diploma was 20.5 percent; for those with such a diploma, 12.6 percent. By contrast, the rate was 7.4 percent for all races and 6.5 percent for whites, respectively.
• 7.1 million blacks aged 25-54 have a high school education or less; if Obama succeeds in unilaterally granting work permits to undocumented aliens, 6.2 million aliens aged 25-54 with a high school education or less will be able to compete legally for work with those 7.1 million blacks.
• Other than the undocumented immigrants themselves, employers are the most likely to benefit financially from the proposed amnesty, yet black Americans are disproportionately unlikely to own business equity. Equity in businesses accounts for less than four percent of assets for black households, compared to 18 percent for white households, according to Pew Research, which also reports that ownership value in business assets declined slightly from 1983 to 2010 for black families but increased by 106 percent during the period for whites.
• Undocumented immigrants and black Americans in the workforce have a similar median age (about 36 and 39 years of age, respectively, with non-Hispanic whites six years older than the undocumented immigrants, at 42 ), making undocumented aliens more likely to compete head to head for age-sensitive employment opportunities.
• Illegal alien migration within the United States tends toward major metropolitan cities and, increasingly in recent years, to urban and rural areas in Southeastern states, which tend to have higher black populations. This is putting more immigrants in direct competition with black Americans for jobs.
Vernon M. Briggs Jr. of Cornell University wrote in 2010 that “… some of the fastest growing immigrant concentrations are now taking place in the urban and rural labor markets of the states of the Southeast — such as Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. … Indeed, about 26 percent of the nation’s foreign-born population are now found in the states of the South … many of these new immigrants in this region are illegal immigrants.”
• The recession took a particularly harsh toll on black America, with the black unemployment rate rising to a high of 16.7 percent in March 2010 and in August 2011 during the Obama Administration. It remained high during the second quarter of 2014, when 11 percent of blacks aged 16 and older in the workforce were unemployed, compared to an overall unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.
“Under Barack Obama, high rates of poverty and unemployment have become the status quo for all-too-many blacks. Yet this president is willing to facilitate the importation of yet more poverty into our nation in the form of low-skilled illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico,” said Joe R. Hicks, Project 21 member and a former executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
“In the face of already depressed wages and scarce jobs, blacks now face the specter of increased pressure from millions of illegal immigrants to whom Obama threatens to grant amnesty, further depressing wages and job opportunities for black men and teenagers – guaranteeing lives of poverty well into the foreseeable future,” he added.