Cong. Black Caucus Chair Wants Dems to Focus More on Poverty, but Doesn’t Oppose Amnesty

Congrssional Black Caucus AP
Associated Press

The new Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chairman wants Democrats to focus less on “middle class” issues and more on lifting black Americans out of “persistent poverty, but he and his group have supported President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and calls for massive comprehensive amnesty legislation that would make it more difficult for black Americans to move up the economic ladder.

Citing “persistent poverty communities” that disproportionately impacts black Americans, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), the CBC chairman, told Roll Call that “black America is in a state of emergency right now.”

Butterfield “noted that 1 in 4 black families — and 1 in 3 black children — live in poverty, while the unemployment rate for African-Americans is roughly double that for whites.” He said Congress should not cut food stamps because “food security leads to national security” and reportedly advocated for an increase in the minimum wage.

“We have to be assertive. We have to be more aggressive,” he reportedly said of combating black poverty. “We cannot forget that so many of our families are not middle class.”

He added that the CBC has traditionally viewed itself as “conscience of the Congress” and echoed former CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who, as Roll Call notes, said that “Democrats “don’t talk enough about the poor” and “we need to talk more about how we lift people out of poverty.” Fudge repeatedly said that she did not believe in “classes” and urged Democrats to talka bout “working families.”

“I think most Americans would want to provide a safety net for those in poverty,” Butterfield reportedly said. “I think most Americans want to support their communities.”

The Congressional Black Caucus, though, has ignored Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who has pleaded with the group to oppose massive amnesty legislation because it would make it tougher for the CBC to accomplish its goals of reducing poverty in black America. Kirsanow has written the group on numerous occasions to remind the CBC that granting work permits to illegal immigrants and massively increasing legal immigration will harm black workers at the bottom of the economic ladder the most.

“The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants,” Kirsanow wrote in a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus last year. “The answer is no.”


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