Three members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights wrote on Thursday to Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to express their belief that amnesty or legalization of some 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. will hurt the black community.
“In light of recent debates on comprehensive immigration reform, we are writing to address a rarely-discussed effect of granting legal status or effective amnesty to illegal immigrants,” the three Civil Rights Commission members wrote. “Such grant of legal status will 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 increased employment difficulties will likely have negative consequences that extend far beyond economics,” the authors warn.
The Commission members cite a 2008 briefing their body held on this topic which found illegal immigration “has a disparate impact on African-American men because these men are disproportionately represented in the low-skilled labor force.”
“The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants,” the Civil Rights Commission members wrote to Fudge. “The answer is no.”
The Commission members added at the end of their letter that whatever plans being considered–whether originating from the president, the bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight”, or a House plan that is reportedly being drafted–lawmakers should actually consider the disparate impact such reforms will have on black communities.
“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,” they wrote. “We respectfully submit that granting such legal status is not without substantial costs to American workers.”
The letter can be read in its entirety below: