The civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken our nation to its core. Most of those sincerely protesting a miscarriage of justice—separate from the organized goons creating chaos for their extremist agenda—have said that it is time for an honest national discussion about race and justice in America. On that we should all agree.
A truly honest national debate is needed, not a series of politically correct bumper sticker platitudes. It should be noted, however, that such debate may expose and even tear down some sacred-cow beliefs in our legal and political institutions. I’m talking specifically about the harmful effects of excessive legal and illegal immigration on the African-American community in this country.
Simply put, many politicians who virtue signal compassion for the plight of minorities are also actively pushing anti-borders policies that cruelly undermine the very same minorities. This is rank hypocrisy and should no longer be tolerated.
The Department of Justice will be fast-tracking its investigation into the treatment of Floyd, and significant changes in police arrest procedures across the country will likely result. Beyond that, some of the challenges most commonly cited by the African-American community are failing schools, lack of job opportunities and affordable housing, and high crime. Every one of those issues is made significantly worse by excessive immigration.
Schools with minority-majority student bodies have long suffered from lack of funding and poor student-to-teacher ratios. Today, many of those schools are flooded with the children of those here illegally. Almost one in every ten students enrolled in public schools today is designated as Limited English Proficiency (LEP). This has necessitated the creation of special programs for LEP children, and those programs are costly.
As an unacceptable number of African-American students may struggle academically due in part to historical disadvantages, scarce financial resources are now being diverted to address the growing LEP student population. By 2013 there were 4.93 million LEP students in the country. This has required school districts to train teachers for LEP certification training. The cost of educating LEP students is approximately $59.2 billion annually. How many new facilities, programs and opportunities could have been created for struggling, at-risk African-American students with those resources?
High immigration levels also have devastating effects on minority job opportunities. Adding low-skilled immigrants to the labor pool creates more competition and lower wages for work that is often sought by minority job-seekers at or near the poverty line. As of 2014, 70 percent of all net job gains since 2000 have gone to foreign-born residents. Research has also shown that black employment is more sensitive to an immigration influx than white employment. With already limited prospects for jobs, the last thing minorities in low-income areas need is to be further squeezed out of work opportunities by a near-infinite flow of imported labor willing to work for substandard wages.
Excessive immigration also drives up the cost of housing. Legal and illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. tend to cluster in just a handful of cities, with around half going to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Houston. These immigrants frequently live in communities also occupied by American-born minorities. More people seeking housing in the same area results in higher housing costs for those people.
Lastly, higher immigration levels make minority communities more dangerous. Among the immigrant community are subsets of ultra-violent MS-13, other foreign-based gangs and drug cartels. Philando Castile, Eric Gardner and George Floyd, among others, have been immortalized as victims of police brutality. Far fewer know the stories of Jamiel Shaw II, Edwin Jackson, and Dominic Durden. They were all promising, young African-American men whose lives were stolen by illegal aliens who should never have been in the country. Their deaths deserve the same level of public outrage that has been directed at those caused by police misconduct.
Who is to blame for this situation? It is not the predominantly nonviolent foreign nationals seeking better prospects for their lives. They are just pawns in a larger game. Rather, it is the mayors, city council members, governors and federal officials who pander for Hispanic votes by advocating for deadly sanctuary laws and nearly unlimited immigration. Approximately 600 cities, towns and counties have resolutions, ordinances, executive actions and other initiatives that welcome, protect and reward illegal aliens. The level of ongoing human suffering caused by the ten worst sanctuary communities alone is horrifying and unforgivable.
As the destruction in our streets begins to quell, the media will increasingly seek out our elected leaders for statements of compassion and guidance for our disadvantaged communities. Those leaders will lament the frustration, crime and lack of opportunities in those communities. Be wary of those voicing their compassion the loudest. Their policies are what brought us here.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.