Democrat James Clyburn got his start in South Carolina politics 53 years ago, and he’s been elected, reelected, and reelected to Congress for the last 30 years.
But African-Americans have lost their share of income, wealth, and status during those 30 years. Those losses were imposed largely because Clyburn’s Democrats — and the GOP — have changed the economy by working with companies to export millions of jobs and to extract millions of migrant workers and renters from poor countries.
The vast foreign “in-migration” means that U.S. investors do not have to hire black Americans in the southern states or the northern cities. They don’t even have to build new workplaces in mostly-black southern counties. Instead, the investors can just bus in their new workers from the local airport.
Gregg Marcel Dixon wants these economic trends to change, so he is running in the Democrats’ open primary against Clyburn in South Carolina’s poor Sixth District. The polls close on June 14.
“We talk about a crisis on the border — what about the crisis in black America?” he asked Clyburn at a public event.
“The media is so damn stratified … there really is no middle ground,” Dixon told Breitbart.
“The liberal media — like the MSNBCs of the world — have you thinking that because most black Americans vote for the Democrats, then most black Americans agree with what the Democrats on TV are saying, which is usually pro-abortion and pro-immigration,” he continued.
“But most black Americans are just furious with the flood of new immigrants coming into our neighborhoods. There’s no black politicians saying that. Most black people who are running as a Democrat do not have the backbone to stand up and say, ‘Yeah, I know I’m a Democrat, but I’m not co-signing a lot of crap you’re trying to push onto our communities because it is not good for us.’ I am the one who’s going to do that.”
Dixon is pushing for curbs on abortion, reductions in migration, and support of gun rights.
“When I speak to constituents in my district, one of the main things they bring up — illegal immigration,” he said.
Dixon explained that migration cuts Americans’ wages. “[African-American] people have historically not had college degrees, so they’ve done a lot of entry-level jobs like carpentry and roofing. … [Now we’ve got] another group coming in — agreeing to do it for lower wages, sometimes agreeing to do it for no wages because they [want their employers to] bring other illegal immigrants over.”
He went on to say that new arrivals also compete for community resources, such as decent housing. “There’s a limited amount of resources in the community. … It’s common sense that quality affordable housing disappears, class sizes are going to increase, [and community] resources that [we] once had very little accessibility to — we’re going to have almost none. That’s common sense.”
The damage to African-Americans by foreign immigration is quietly and reluctantly admitted by pro-migration experts on the left.
“In recent years, black workers in northern cities have faced new sources of labor-market competition, compounded by falling demand for some low-skilled operative and clerical positions, leading wages to stagnate further,” Princeton University economist Leah Boustan wrote in a 2017 book titled Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets.
That post-1980 decline is a huge reversal from the economic gains enjoyed by black Americans throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
Those gains were won when Congress shut down international migration, thus helping four million black Americans migrate out of the south to find decent jobs in the north and west. Those who migrated to jobs in the northern cities were seen as “substitutes” for the missing European whites, Boustan wrote on page 4 of her book.
The supply of new European workers was cut off briefly during World War I (1914 to 1918) and then blocked for four decades when Congress largely shut down immigration in 1924.
Northern employers offered huge pay raises, better homes, and freedom from government-supported racism, Boustan wrote in her little-publicized book about black migration: “Blacks who moved to northern and western cities earned twice as much as those who stayed behind. … Blacks who settled in the north earned at least 100 percent more than those who stayed.”
The migration of many southern blacks to the north and west also created a labor shortage in the south. That shortage helped end black Southerners’ role as cotton pickers. “Cotton was still overwhelmingly picked by hand in 1960. By 1964, 42 percent of the cotton harvest was mechanized; five years later, the share had reached 82 percent,” she wrote.
The black migration out of the South rapidly expanded black populations in high-growth cities, including New York and Los Angeles, and set the stage for civil rights protests across the United States in the 1960s.
But those economic gains from black migration were short-lived.
Tragically for African Americans, Democrats and Republicans united to reopen the immigration doors in 1965 and then doubled the inflow in 1990.
Expert economists “estimate that immigrant arrivals can account for one-third of the declining wages of black high-school dropouts from 1950 to 2000,” Boustan wrote. By 1980, the flood of foreign migrants was sending black Americans back to southern cities.
I see this [competition from migrants] in LA today. LA was 17 percent black in 1970. It’s now 7 percent black. And a lot of that is responsive outflow to Hispanic in-migration and the competition between — the potential competition — between blacks and Hispanics. So, blacks are moving now to Phoenix, Las Vegas, to the Inland Empire … part of southern California.
The wide wealth gap between white and black Americans shrank quickly from the 1940s into the 1960s. But the progress stopped when Congress let migrants rush into the western and northern cities. “Since the 1980s, the wealth gap has widened again as … income convergence has stopped,” according to a June 2022 economic study.
In Clyburn’s Sixth District, the average income is just $23,000, or one-third less than the national average of $35,000. One-quarter of the people there live below the poverty line, and 60 percent are renters.
The generational damage from immigration has worsened since the 1980s, according to the ancestry and tax data cited in Boustan’s new 2022 book, titled Streets of Gold: America’s Untold Story of Immigrant Success.
Boustan discovered that the children of immigrants tend to outpace the children of Americans. That happens, she said, because immigrants settle in the expensive, high-rent, fast-growing cities, while Americans tend to stay in their hometowns and states.
She wrote, “The first striking takeaway is that, as a group, children of immigrants achieve more upward mobility than the children of US-born fathers, reaching the 51st percentile of the income distribution on average.”
The migrants’ children tend to settle in the high-growth cities because they have no home-town ties elsewhere in the United States, Boustan said. “What’s new here that pops out of our database [is] that immigrant parents are more likely than US-born parents to settle in these high opportunity areas, which are flush with good jobs and offer better prospects for mobility in the next generation.”
Fewer Americans move to those cities because “the areas that offer the best opportunities for upward advancement also have the highest cost of living, particularly high rents and housing costs,” she wrote.
The post-1965 flood of Latino and Asian migrants — especially after the federal government doubled the inflow of foreign workers and consumers in 1990 — has helped to decrease migration by black and white Americans from poor rural areas into the high-growth cities.
“By most measures, internal migration in the United States is at a 30-year low,” said a 2011 academic study, titled “Internal Migration in the United States.”
Yet Boustan claims that her data about the faster progress of migrants justifies an amnesty for the existing population of at least 11 million illegals.
The great success of foreigners over Americans also justifies a continued inflow of migrants and their children into high-opportunity cities and jobs, she insists.
Breitbart News asked Boustan on June 7 about the damage done to black Americans by the government’s immigration policies.
Breitbart asked if African Americans — and other Americans — deserve compensation for the government policies that will allow immigrants’ children to outpace their children. In any future political “Grand Bargain,” Breitbart asked, “There’s no compensation for Americans who are going to be displaced by the incoming migrants, especially black Americans?”
Boustan simply dodged the evidence of generational displacement from her own 2022 book. “There isn’t really a lot of strong evidence that immigrants who are coming into the U.S. today are displacing U.S. workers,” she replied.
At the same June 7 event, Boustan’s allies also dodged the issue. They even argued that an amnesty for more than 10 million illegals would be good for black Americans because it would force employers to stop hiring illegals at lower wages.
“The idea that immigrants hurt African Americans is even older than some of the myths that Leah [Boustan] discusses in her book,” claimed Michael Clemens, an advocate for greater migration who ignored the conclusions of Boustan’s books. “So there really is a very, very weak evidence base for this, and especially in the historical period that Leah’s talking about,” he said at the June 7 meeting.
However, Boustan’s 2017 book piled up the evidence that black Americans gained when migration was temporarily stopped during World War I (1914 to 1918) and during the 1924 to 1965 period.
Migration to the north increased circa 1915, prompted by the confluence of rising labor demand in northern factories during World War One [and] a temporary freeze on immigration from Europe, which encouraged northern employers to consider alternative sources of labor supply…
And African Americans’ upward march stalled in the 1970s once Congress allowed other migrants into the northern cities ahead of them, Boustan wrote. “The stagnation of relative black earnings in the North from 1970 to 2010 points to the continued role of falling labor demand in American manufacturing, compounded by competition from new migrant arrivals from Mexico and Central America.”
Boustan’s 2017 book was approved by many leaders of the National Bureau of Economic Research, which includes most of the nation’s top academic economists.
Outside academia, the economic harm to African-Americans is obvious in the South and in northern cities. In 2018, President Donald Trump’s immigration officials forced a Chicago bakery to fire their illegal workforce of Latino illegals, allowing black workers to get more jobs and higher wages. The Chicago Sun-Times reported:
Ed French, owner of Elgin-based Metro Staff Inc., says his company became the main provider of [replacement] workers for the bakery and that about 80 percent of them are black. According to French … wages [are] up by about 25 cents an hour, to just above minimum wage.
He says everyone hired through his company is permitted to work in the country and has passed a background check and drug test.
According to a former consultant to the bakery, MSI paid the black workers $14 an hour, versus the $10 an hour the Mexican workers were making through Labor Network.
Black Americans are also being excluded from high-tech jobs, in part because Indian and Chinese migrants favor their own kind, and discriminate against African Americans. A May article in the Washington Post hinted at the anti-black discrimination, saying:
Diversity has suffered as a result. The director, who manages a 40-person team, has flagged to his bosses that about 98% of candidates he sees are male and Asian, according to email exchanges seen by Bloomberg Opinion.
In South Carolina’s Sixth District, black Americans are being pushed out of “carpentry, roofing, painting, lawn maintenance, even our cooking,” said Dixon. “Entry-level jobs that you don’t need to have a degree to do, we’re being pushed out of it.”
Black Americans have long recognized the damage international migration does to them.
We are self interested Black Americans. We want policies & opportunities specific to the Descendants of Freedmen. We want an Immigration Moratorium for at least 10 years. We can no longer afford to give all of our resources to Foreigners while American Citizens fall into poverty.
— Nas (@nasescobar316) June 6, 2022
In Washington, DC, Peter Kirsanow has repeatedly warned about the impact of foreign migration on black Americans. He is a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and conducted hearings on the damage caused by illegal migration to African-Americans. But Kirsanow’s commission is now dominated by Democrat appointees who are far more interested in promoting diversity instead of black citizens’ economic status.
The economic damage goes far beyond the loss of jobs and wages to international migrants.
Migration spikes housing costs, which has helped push more blacks out of high-growth cities. The inflow of migrants also reduces the supply of subsidized housing in many cities, including Chicago:
I first applied for an affordable housing voucher in 1993.
I finally got a call back in 2004 to tell me my son who just graduated high school couldn’t be on my lease.
Today in 2022 I finally got a letter telling me I made it to the top of the waiting list. I have no words. pic.twitter.com/h0lykVyFcd
— Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor (@taylorfor20th) May 31, 2022
In the Sixth District, the growing population of illegal migrants is also pushing African-Americans out of housing, Dixon said. “Rent goes up because the availability of housing is scarce,” he said. “In the past, renting an apartment, the average was probably somewhere like $600 to $800, maybe even cheaper. Now, if all you get is … a one-bedroom at $1,300, you’re doing good.”
Third world conditions right here in the USA. It’s unconscionable. https://t.co/WLbOaGakND
— dropitreal (@dropitreal) December 21, 2021
Many white mainstream conservatives also recognize the damage done to black citizens by migration.
“Rich people, mostly whites, are making out like bandits,” from the inflow of cheap Latino labor, columnist Ann Coulter wrote on May 25:
It’s low-wage workers — mostly black men — whose wages have been annihilated by competition from the cheap labor being dumped on the country. Not only have working-class wages gone into the toilet, but a lot of jobs are totally off-limits to black people — because they don’t speak Spanish or Chinese or Tagalog.
Roy Beck is the author of Back of the Hiring Line: A 200-year History of Immigration Surges, Employer Bias, and Depression of Black Wealth. He is a former left-wing journalist who now heads a group that lobbies for less migration.
Unsurprisingly, many black Americans oppose the federal migration policies, even though many also sympathize with poor Latinos who are trying to get jobs and raise their own children.
For example, a September 2021 poll showed that 28 percent of respondents wanted the federal government to send a flood of Haitian asylum seekers back to Haiti — while 25 percent strongly disapproved of the returns.
The same poll also reported that only 27 percent of black respondents believe that immigration makes America better off. A similar share — 23 percent — of black respondents say immigration makes America worse. Fifty percent of the people quizzed by the poll said “not sure” or that immigration “doesn’t make much difference.”
In April 2018, Breitbart News reported on a survey that showed African Americans without college degrees are more concerned about cheap-labor migration than are those with college degrees. Professor Tatishe Nteta at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst wrote:
Working-class African Americans are significantly more supportive of policies that seek to: decrease the number of immigrants coming to the United States, increase the federal role in verifying the employment status of immigrants, and attempts to amend the Constitution’s citizenship provisions.
Amid the multi-decade disaster for black Americans, Clyburn — like many other black leaders — has repeatedly dodged the issue as he climbed to the top of the party’s coalition of competing identity groups.
In September 2021, he kept a low profile as 18 of the 53 legislators in the Congressional Black Caucus urged top Democrats to amnesty many more illegal migrants. Many of the 18 legislators represent districts with very large shares of Latino voters. In July 2021, 30 members of the caucus asked officials to invite deported migrants back to the United States, but Clyburn stayed quiet.
Yet in November 2021, Clyburn voted for the “Build Back Better” spending bill, which was strongly backed by the growing number of Latino and Asian representatives in the Democratic Party. That bill would have allowed millions of would-be Latino and Asian migrants to buy their way into the skilled jobs, decent housing, big-city opportunities, and government aid programs that are needed by ordinary Americans.
No one in the black leadership class is “talking about the anger that black Americans — the descendants of American slaves — feel toward illegal immigrants,” Dixon told Breitbart News. “No one’s talking about California where Latino gangs are running black Americans out of neighborhoods that were once majority black. No one is talking about how black Americans in states like Illinois and Mississippi and Georgia have called ICE and then ICE has raided factories and plants and farms and the next thing black Americans were doing the jobs that the media tell us that black Americans don’t want to do,” he added.
“There are a lot of black people that feel the way I do. I rarely get pushback about illegal immigration when I talk to real black people who live around this majority-black district. No one is speaking for them,” he continued.
“Once I talk about it, that’s a game-changer,” Dixon said.