Slate’s Jamelle Bouie: ‘Not a Bad Play’ for Trump to Court Black Voters with Pro-U.S. Worker Immigration Plan

Jamelle Bouie

Slate’s chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie may have committed a “Kinsley gaffe” on Thursday when he said Donald Trump’s immigration plan may help Republicans win over black voters in the general election. Bouie said it is “not a bad play” for Trump, “as far as strategy goes,” in appealing to black voters.

In an appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room, Bouie was asked to respond to Trump’s remarks in South Carolina earlier in the day in which the business mogul who leads in every state and national poll said he would win over African-American voters by focusing on jobs. Trump cited the high unemployment rate among Black youth, and declared that America will take jobs back from China, Japan, and Mexico.

“We’re going to have jobs in this country,” Trump said.

Bouie said Trump’s remarks were “absolutely fascinating.”

“I don’t think I’ve heard a Republican ever talk specifically about African-American youth unemployment, which is a legitimate problem and a legitimate issue,” Bouie said on CNN.

He pointed out that some conservative intellectuals think that “the easiest path for Republicans to take back the White House” is by “winning back some of the African-Americans they’ve lost since Bush ran in 2004.”

“And part of doing that, part of approaching that, might just be harnessing anxiety about immigration, about the fact that immigrants are typically filling low wage jobs, and are in some cases… competing with African-American workers,” Bouie continued. “Trump, I think, might be banking on that fact. And it’s not a bad play as far as strategy goes.”

Trump’s immigration plan explicitly mentions the unemployment rate of black teenagers and emphasizes how his immigration proposals would help minority workers who are struggling to find jobs or looking to move up the economic ladder. The mainstream media, liberals and those in the GOP establishment have ignored those aspects of Trump’s plan. In doing so, they have shown that they are ignorantly commenting on Trump’s plan without having read it or are dishonest hacks conveniently ignoring narrative-busting aspects of it that may help Trump appeal to minorities. It is certainly not in the interests of the pro-amnesty crowd on the left, right, and in the mainstream media to even acknowledge that minorities may want tougher immigration laws and reforms to high-tech immigration so they can have better job opportunities.

In his immigration plan that vows to put “American workers first,” Trump clearly states that “decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class” and explicitly mentions that, “today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed”:

Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed. For black Americans without high school diplomas, the bottom has fallen out: more than 70% were employed in 1960, compared to less than 40% in 2000. Across the economy, the percentage of adults in the labor force has collapsed to a level not experienced in generations. As CBS news wrote in a piece entitled ‘America’s incredible shrinking middle class’: ‘If the middle-class is the economic backbone of America, then the country is developing osteoporosis.

“The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage,” Trump adds. “Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 percent of Hispanic immigrants. Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants. We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.”

In his detailed plan, Trump proses increasing the prevailing wage for H-1B visas to “force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas.”

This will, Trump explicitly states, “improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.” He adds that “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.” Trump also proposes that there should be more requirements for companies to “hire American workers first” before applying for various foreign-worker visas.

“Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS,” he writes.

Trump also proposes eliminating the J-1 “visa jobs program for foreign youth” and replacing it with a “resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.” He says it will be a “jobs program for inner city youth.”

He proposes using tax dollars “saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States.” He also proposes that “before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers.”

“This will help reverse women’s plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages,” Trump writes in his plan.

Trump’s plan and message, much to the chagrin of those who have a vested interest in declaring that minorities will not support any immigration plan that falls short of massive amnesty, may resonate with blue-collar Americans of all backgrounds.

It is nearly impossible, though, to find instances of mainstream media pundits–many of whom give off the impression that they are so intellectually curious and open to divergent viewpoints–even considering that such a plan may not, at the least, turn off minorities. So don’t be surprised if Bouie’s allies on the left and in the mainstream press remind him that he should not say such inconvenient truths on national television.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.