Three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged the Congressional Black Caucus to consider how the immigration proposal could cause black Americans to lose job opportunities.
“The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants,” USCCR members Peter Kirsanow, Abigail Thernstrom, and Gail Heriot in a letter sent today to Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. “The answer is no.”
The Congressional Black Caucus is supporting the immigration reform push. “[Immigration reform] is the civil and human rights issue of our generation, just like the civil rights issues of the ’60s that was fought by African-Americans, and the civil rights issue of women before it,” Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said on the House floor earlier this year. Last week, Horsford participated in a CBC forum at Howard University that discussed “assumptions about the impact immigration reform will have on African Americans, which have led to tensions in communities and on college campuses.”
The members recalled a 2008 USCCR hearing that concluded that amnesty would harm black Americans.
“The briefing witnesses, well-regarded scholars from leading universities and independent groups, were ideologically diverse,” they wrote. “All the witnesses acknowledged that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both in terms of employment opportunities and wages.”
Kirsanow and Thernstrom are Republican appointees to the commission. Heriot is a registered independent who was appointed by Congress.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., has scheduled one hearing on the immigration proposal, slated for next week.