Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Unspoken Impact of Illegal Immigration for Black Americans

By: Nicholas Softy | Federation for American Immigration Reform

Illegal immigration protester Ted Hayes marches in downtown Los Angeles alongside Jamiel and Anita Shaw, the parents of Jamiel Shaw II, 17, a black athlete who was shot and killed in March by an alleged gang member who was in the country illegally. Marchers carried American flags and signs that read, "Justice for Jamiel". The march and rally at City Hall came days after a judge ruled that Pedro Espinoza, 19, will stand trial in the teenager’s slaying.  (Benjamin Reed / Los Angeles Times)

In Fiscal Year 2023, CBP (U.S. Customs & Border Protection) has encountered a stunning 3.2 million illegal aliens at U.S. borders. This marks the highest level of illegal immigration in American history. Under the Biden administration, more than 8 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended, with another 1.7 million “gotaways” evading Border Patrol. Many of these illegal immigrants are going to be funneled into large cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Many of these newly-arrived individuals are unskilled laborers that will place a huge burden on low-income Americans – taking their jobs and using their resources. 

Civil rights leaders have long acknowledged that mass immigration leads to the displacement of Black Americans. Frederick Douglass once stated, “Every hour sees the Black man elbowed out of employment by some newly arrived immigrant whose hunger and whose color are thought to give him a better title to the place.” 

Many major metropolitan cities like New York and Baltimore embrace “sanctuary” policies that shield criminal aliens and pose a threat to the safety of Black Americans living in urban areas. Notorious gangs like MS-13, Latin Kings, Tren de Aragua,  and the 18th Street Gang are adding fuel to the fire in crime-plagued cities across the nation. These murderous transnational criminal organizations use all sorts of malicious methods to keep the neighborhoods in which they operate compliant, quiet, and financially engaged in their criminal activities. This includes physical violence, threats, and intimidation tactics to instill fear and maintain control over individuals and entire communities.   

In addition, these gangs (working with the cartels) flood our communities with deadly drugs like methamphetamines and fentanyl. From May 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted 3,337 arrests and seized 44 million fentanyl pills, and more than 6,500 pounds of fentanyl powder. Likewise, in 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 27,000 pounds of fentanyl coming across the southern border, which is enough to kill the entire population of North America twice over. 

The impact of illegal immigration extends beyond crime rates, and also encompasses economic challenges for working-class families, with Black Americans being particularly affected. Illegal aliens often compete for jobs held by minorities in urban cities, leading to a decline in wages and unemployment. Black men, who already face the highest unemployment rates in the United States, bear the brunt of this competition, with low-skilled foreign labor taking their jobs and depressing their wages. Today, the unemployment rate for Black workers is nearly double the national average, while “open borders” politicians preach incessantly about “jobs Americans won’t do”. In reality, if business owners paid their employees a respectable wage for their employment, then those “jobs Americans won’t do” would be filled with able-bodied American citizens … instead of illegal aliens. 

A 2008 Civil Rights Commission analysis revealed that nearly half of the decline in labor force participation rates among Black men over the past three decades can be attributed to the oversupply of illegal immigrant labor. This means that over a million Black Americans have missed out on job opportunities due to competing with foreign-born labor. As a result, increased unemployment and severe underemployment continue to plague Black communities. 

Despite the consequences of unchecked illegal immigration on low-to-middle income Black Americans, this societal problem is often overlooked in mainstream news coverage. Much of the silence is due to the “gains” from illegal immigration. Big business interests greatly prosper from cheap foreign labor, foreign governments gain billions from remittances ($200 billion per year), and the unions gain members. This becomes especially apparent during election seasons, when politicians, while pandering to Black voters, champion policies that ultimately prove injurious to the livelihoods of millions of Black Americans.  

As American citizens, we must demand that our leaders enact immigration policies that put Americans first and foremost. While it is instinctive to want to help individuals from other countries prosper, there are laws on the books regarding who is eligible to be admitted into the country. We cannot remain a sovereign nation without strong immigration enforcement and people continuing to surge across our borders because the Biden administration is derelict in its duty.  


Nicholas Softy is the State & Local Field Representative for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).