Members From U.S. Commission On Civil Rights Critical of Illegal Immigration

Three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote a letter to Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D – CA) and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, criticizing the granting of amnesty to illegal immigrants. The letter signed by Vice Chair Abigail Thernstrom, Commissioner Gail Heriot, and Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, states they are expressing their concerns about the illegal immigration issue “in their individual capacities as three members of the eight-member U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and not on behalf of the Commission as a whole.”

Thernstrom, Kirsanow, and Heriot say in the letter to Rep. Fudge and the rest of the CBC that  granting legal status to illegal immigrants  would “likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans
by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages
when they do obtain employment.” The letter goes further saying, “The increased employment difficulties will likely have negative consequences that extend far beyond economics.”

The signatories of the letter describe a 2008 briefing the Commission held that examined the impact of illegal immigration on wages and employment opportunities of African-Americans. 

They write, “For example, 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.’

The letter points out that the 1986 amnesty did not stop the flow of illegal immigrants from coming into the United States but encouraged more to enter and forced more African Americans out of the work force.

The letter closes saying, “Before the federal government decides to grant legal status to illegal immigrants, due deliberation should be given to what effect such grant will have on the employment and earnings prospects of low-skill Americans generally and black Americans specifically. We respectfully submit that granting such legal status is not without substantial costs to American workers.”

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