As polls show Donald Trump performing better than ever with black voters, progressive rapper Azealia Banks is expressing support for Trump’s popular immigration policy because of the positive impact it could have on black Americans.
“Do you think it’s bad that I sort of agree with [Trump’s] stance on immigration?” the rapper wrote on her Instagram account on September 7th.
Banks, a black rapper from Harlem, made headlines in March of this year by declaring her hatred for “this country” and “white Americans.”
Banks explained that her support for Trump’s immigration plan is based on the detrimental impact mass immigration has had on the black community. “Black Americans still have not been paid reparations for slavery,” she wrote. “It’s selfish, but America has been really good at convincing me that everyone else’s problems are more important than my own.”
Following an immediate onslaught of progressive backlash, Banks tried to vaguely signal to progressives that her pro-America immigration statement was just a “social experiment.” However, all of her social media posts thereafter demonstrate a strong support for the ideas underpinning Trump’s rise.
“If the United States of America is an aircraft on its way down, (which it seems to be) I must put my own air mask on before I assist others,” Banks later wrote.
Indeed, black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by mass immigration. “Competition from immigration accounts for approximately 40 percent of the 18-percentage point decline in black employment in recent years,” U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow has documented. “That’s nearly a million jobs lost by blacks to immigrants.”
Black Americans are currently unemployed at twice the rate of white Americans, and real average wages are lower today than they were in 1973, shortly after the green card gusher began.
Yet the consequences of mass immigration for “the black community in general are not limited to wages,” three members of the Civil Rights commission wrote in 2013.
In addition to lower wages, decades of mass immigration has led to an increase in the incarceration rate amongst black Americans. As Harvard Professor George Borjas has analyzed, “a 10% immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group is associated with a reduction in the black wage of 2.5%, a reduction in the black employment rate of 5.9 percentage points, and an increase in the black institutionalization rate of 1.3%.”
Banks’ immigration post, however, caught the ire of Buzzfeed’s Conz Preti, who according to Buzzfeed’s website, is “la directora regional para las Américas”– or the regional director of Americas for Buzzfeed.
“Dear @AZEALIABANKS, I’m not sucking up state aid nor your gov money. I’m busting my [a**] working and not bothering you,” Preti tweeted on September 8th.
But Preti isn’t an illegal immigrant, so she lashed back: “[W]ho said I’m undocumented?”
Banks’ statistics overall are correct. “Immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households,” with more than half of U.S. immigrants on welfare, a new Census data study reveals. The disproportionate reliance on welfare continues amongst the second and third generations (i.e. the American-born children) of immigrants: 76.4 percent of native Hispanics report that they use welfare as opposed to 40.8 percent of native whites.
Banks pressed the point. “Who’s going to pay for [mass immigration]?” Banks tweeted. “I’d much rather have my tax dollars go to making schools better then spreading schools thin.”
Indeed, large-scale immigration has sapped educational resources for minority communities. Today, as a result of four decades of record high green card dispensations, a majority of public school enrollees are minorities. A majority of students now also qualify for programs like subsidized school lunches. As the United States has continued to distribute visas to many of the poorest and least-educated countries around the world, U.S. test scores have plummeted. As the liberal-website Vox recently observed:
“The results for last year’s SAT test-takers are in, and they’re not good: the lowest on record in the last decade… The pool of test takers is more likely to include poor and nonwhite students than before… SAT-takers have become more racially diverse, largely because a greater share of test-takers are Hispanic now than in the past. The share of students from poor families and those who learned English as a second language have increased… as the pool of test-takers has gotten more diverse and poorer than in the past, the average score has fallen slightly from year to year. To some extent, that’s to be expected.”
The fact that Banks— who has previously articulated her hatred for “white Americans”— supports for the America-first philosophy of Trump’s campaign is interesting as it reveals the irony of claims from the publications like National Review, which try to assert that Trump’s rise is fueled by white nationalism. The other fact that invalidates the National Review’s analysis is that the progressive Buzzfeed staffer attacking Banks— and implicitly criticizing Trump— is making thinly veiled appeals to racial solidarity as a higher organizing principle than national solidarity.
As the Buzzfeed staffer later wrote, “Today will be remembered as the day Azealia Banks attacked me when I disagreed with her diss towards latino immigrants… [A]ttacking another minority is not ok. I call this the Donald Trump effect. Brace yourselves because we will be seeing more and more of this.”
As Trump has promoted a pro-America immigration policy that prioritizes getting Americans back to work rather than importing low-wage foreign laborers to replace them, he has seen his poll numbers soar with key voting groups, including women and black Americans, who have been most negatively impacted by the federal government’s record high visa dispensations.
Polls suggest that if Trump continues to promote his populist stance on immigration, he will continue to make inroads with these voters who are most repelled by establishment and big business Republicans’ platform of entitlement cuts for the poor and corporate tax cuts for the wealthy.
The vast appeal Trump’s policies is reflected in Banks’ subsequent tweets on the matter. When one negative tweeter told her that we are a nation of immigrants, she replied, “[N]o honey, my people were NOT immigrants. We were bought here by force. And America has to deal with me before they deal [with] [yo]u.”
“When the American public learns that ‘Immigrant’ does not mean ‘Hispanic’ then maybe the discussion will begin to be somewhat productive,” Banks later tweeted.
It is widely agreed upon by scholars on both sides of the aisle that mass immigration displaces and disadvantages the descendants of those who came to this nation enslaved. This is the result not just of immigration from Hispanic countries, but many predominantly poor nations– such as nations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
As The Washington Post reported earlier this year: “Black immigration is remaking [the] U.S. black population.”
The Post cites a study from Pew Research Center which states, “Black immigrants make up a small but growing segment of the U.S. black population. Although the United States has long had a sizable black population as a legacy of slavery, voluntary black immigration to the U.S. is a relatively new development and is projected to grow in the coming decades… Between 2000 and 2013, the black African immigrant population grew from 570,000 to 1.4 million, an increase of 137 percent,” the report says.
Today, one in eleven—or 8.7 percent— of U.S. residents who identify as black were born in another country. According to the Census Bureau that number is projected to nearly double– to 16.5 percent– by 2060– meaning one in six will black residents will be foreign born.
Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. has pointed out that many of new black immigrants have been made beneficiaries of affirmative action programs originally intended for the descendants of slaves and state-sanctioned discrimination in the United States.
In 2004, Gates noted that while 8 percent of Harvard’s undergraduates were black, the vast majority of them were immigrants. Only around a third of the black students “were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves,” The New York Times wrote at the time. The very students “disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions” were losing out to new immigrants who had not been subject to any sort of state sanctioned discrimination by this nation. Gates worried that “African-American students whose families have been in America for generations were being left behind.”
Trump has tapped into that sentiment and is now the only top-polling GOP presidential committed to protecting the interests of the American worker above those of corporatist elites who want more cheap labor. “We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change,” Trump wrote in his August immigration policy paper.
Banks also expressed concern about how large-scale immigration has impacted assimilation: “America IS a melting pot[,] but we should let the pot melt.” Banks tweeted.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has relentlessly pushed for the GOP to woo blue-collar workers. He makes this very argument. “If your goal is to create more stable social conditions, greater access to the middle class, higher employment and wage rates, then it is clear you should stop adding millions more low-skilled workers to the labor market – particularly at time when automation is steadily reducing demand for workers,” Sessions says. “It is not only an economic question, but a social one: is there not an inherent public interest in asking our companies to hire from the unemployment office before seeking workers from the immigration office?”
The inability to assimilate the vast amount of immigrants admitted each year is a concern of many Americans. Each year, as a consequence of the 1965 immigration law lobbied for by Ted Kennedy, the United States issues more than one million green cards to many of the poorest and least-developed nations in the world. In addition to these green cards are nearly one million handpicked foreign workers imported on work visas, their dependents, and refugees, as well as half a million foreign youths sought by college administrators.
The number of immigrants in the U.S. is currently at a record high of 42.1 million. In 1970, fewer than 1 in 21 Americans were foreign-born. Today, as a result of the federal government’s four-decade-long green card gusher, nearly 1 in 7 U.S. residents was born in a foreign country. And in eight years time, according to Census Bureau reports, the foreign born share of the U.S. population will reach an all-time high.
The Trump philosophy— also laid out by Sessions— argues that the best way to help blacks and Latinos who are already living in the United States is to stem the importation of new lower-wage workers from outside of the United States who would take jobs in their place.
This was a principle articulated a century ago by then-President Calvin Coolidge, who argued that the best way to help immigrants and their children already living in the country is to stop importing new immigrants to compete against them. “We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here,” Coolidge said. “As a Nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation.”
Research and economic analysis shows that the while the agenda for increasing the importation of foreign workers— supported by the Buzzfeed staffer— would enrich corporate billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, it would impoverish Latino and black workers who struggling to find decent paying jobs in an already flooded labor market.
Trump addressed this at length in his six-page immigration policy paper. “Decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class.” Trump wrote. “Today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed… 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.”
In an effort to help black and Hispanic workers, Trump called for an end to the J-1 visa— a visa, which Bernie Sanders has said, “allows corporations to replace young American workers with cheaper labor from abroad”. Trump urged that this visa be “replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.”
Moreover, as the cries of inner cities families in gang-beseiged neighborhoods like Chicago and Baltimore go unheard by politicians in Washington, Trump has pledged to crack down on asylum fraud and “use the monies 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.”
Trump’s philosophy suggests that citizens of all ethnic and economic backgrounds should have an equal right to an American job, and that this right should inherently supersede that of the millions of foreign nationals who would like to take those American jobs for a lower wage.
Just as Trump’s stance on immigration has won him the support of voters from a wide-range of demographics, his populist position on trade deals may similarly help gain him votes amongst portions of the electorate not typically won by big business Republicans.
Trump’s platform on trade resonates amongst labor advocates, blue-collar workers and minorities.
As the Huffington Post reported in June of this year, many labor advocates have argued that the push for globalist trade pacts, like the Transpacific-Partnership “will hurt urban black communities.”
The AFL-CIO and United Steelworkers released an ad entitled “American Refugee” which features an African American steel plant worker in Baltimore who was “among 2,100 workers laid off when the plant closed in August 2012.” In the ad, the worker “blames U.S. trade policies for the erosion of Baltimore’s manufacturing base, echoing the longstanding complaints of labor unions and other advocacy groups.”
Trump is the only top-polling Republican candidate to oppose the globalist trade pacts that have devastated blue-collar American families.
As Greg Sargent of The Washington Post recently observed:
“Virtually all of the major GOP presidential candidates, including Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, all support the TPP, as do Republican Congressional leaders… The coming debate over the TPP gives Trump the perfect opportunity to do what he’s already been doing to great effect: test the true nature of opinion among rank-and-file Republican voters, by forcing real debates out into the open on issues that had previously remained deliberately vague or walled off from real discussion by GOP orthodoxy… Trump would probably love it if the career politicians he’s facing off against lecture him about the impact that global free trade has on the fortunes of American workers.”
Indeed, economic analysis shows that combination of mass immigration and surrenderist trade policies have destroy the American middle class.
As Georgetown University’s Eric Gould has analyzed:
“The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.”
In effect, Banks’ declarations of support for American-workers first policies suggest that if trade resurfaces as a major issue this fall, the “Summer of Trump” may easily give way to the Winter of Trump.