The Corner

Immigration

‘All You Americans Are Fired’ — Blacks First?

The quote above is taken from an EEOC case cited in a study prepared by public-policy analyst (and NR contributor) Jason Richwine for the Center for Immigration Studies.

The study analyzes lawsuits brought by the EEOC against employers for discriminating against low-skill, native-born Americans in favor of immigrants. Most of the American-born workers discriminated against were black.

Richwine’s analysis isn’t simply statistical or esoteric. It’s plain and unequivocal. In one case, a manager replaced Americans with foreign-born workers by bluntly informing them, “All you black American people f*** you all . . . [j]ust go to the office and pick up your check.”

Employers used a variety of methods and standards to give preferential treatment to immigrants over Americans: A Spanish-speaking requirement would be imposed on the workforce even though it had absolutely nothing to do with job performance; job openings would be advertised only in Spanish-language media; fake sign-in sheets would be provided to U.S.-born workers.

Richwine’s findings are consistent with those of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which found that illegal immigration has a significantly adverse impact on black wage and employment levels. In fact, illegal immigrants have all but displaced blacks in several sectors of the economy in which blacks were once heavily concentrated: service, hospitality, agriculture, and construction.

The wage-reduction effects of illegal immigration aren’t small. In Immigration and the American Worker, Harvard professor George Borjas writes:

Although the net benefits to natives from illegal immigration are small, there is a sizeable redistribution effect. Illegal immigration reduces the wages of native workers by an estimated $99 to 118 billion a year…Because immigration (legal and illegal) increased the supply of workers unevenly, the impact varies across skill groups, with high school dropouts being the most negatively affected group.

That’s real money. Of course, lower black wage and employment rates produce ancillary negative effects, including higher incarceration rates and lower family formation rates. Borjas, along with Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon Hanson, note:

Our study suggests that 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%. Among white men, the same 10% increase in supply reduces the wage by 3.2%, but has  much weaker employment and incarceration effects: a 2.1 percentage-point reduction in the employment rate and a 0.2 percentage-point increase in the incarceration rate. It seems, therefore, that black employment and incarceration rates are more sensitive to immigration rates than those of whites. Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men, 77 Economica 255, 256 (2010).

What’s been the response of the Congressional Black Caucus to all of this? Unsurprisingly, to fully support the progressives’ open-borders agenda.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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