The Corner

Immigration

Situational Racism, Part CXVII

The prototypes for President Donald Trump’s border wall stand behind the border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, January 7, 2019. (Jorge Duenes/REUTERS)

Democratic opposition to construction of a border wall is ostensibly based on three primary contentions: a border wall (1) is immoral, (2) doesn’t work, and (3) is racist.

The first two contentions are utterly nonsensical for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that they can’t both be true. If a wall is immoral because it keeps out desperate migrants, then it must work.

The accusation of “racist,” progressives’ default epithet for nearly everything they oppose, is similarly incoherent. It’s true that there would be a disparate impact on “people of color” if a wall were built on the southern border. But to paraphrase Willie Sutton, that’s where the illegal immigrants are. A wall is colorblind.

The Left habitually conflates facially neutral policies that have racially disparate results with racism. That’s because more than half a century after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, instances of disparate treatment and intentional racial discrimination are increasingly difficult to find. Disparate impact is a far easier standard to meet. As my colleague Gail Heriot says, there’s not a standard, test, or policy that doesn’t have disparate impacts between different groups.  Invoking disparate impact provides the Left with almost unlimited opportunities to engage in racial and social engineering to “correct” the disparities.

The same progressives who maintain that a wall is racist are utterly silent about the adverse impact of illegal immigration on black Americans. More than any other group in America, blacks are harmed by the influx of illegal immigrants. Numerous studies outline the economic impact of illegal immigration on black employment and wages. Hundreds of thousands of black workers have been displaced due to competition from low-skilled illegal immigrants, particularly in the service, hospitality, construction, and agricultural sectors of the economy. Yet not one protest from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have anointed themselves the guardians of black interests, nothing from the Democratic party that takes black votes for granted, nothing from members of news media who breathlessly broadcast any racial disparity under some version of the headline “World Ends; Women and Minorities Hardest Hit.”

In contrast to neutral policies that have an unintentional racial impact, however, the failure to secure our borders happens with knowledge of, but indifference to, the fact that blacks are particularly harmed by illegal immigration.

Blacks simply can’t compete with progressives’ hatred of Trump and desire to enhance their electoral prospects.

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

Most Popular

Elections

A Reckoning Is in Store for Democrats

The crisis of the Democrats is becoming more evident each week. Those of us who have been loudly predicting for years that the Russian-collusion argument would be exposed as a defamatory farce, and that the authors of it would eventually pay for it, are bemused at the fallback position of the Trump-haters: that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar: A Hostage Situation

‘It has to stop,” says Representative Ilhan Omar. No, it does not. Representative Omar, the Jew-hating Minnesota Democrat, is engaged in one of her usual games of misdirection, a pattern of hers that by now is familiar enough to be predicted: She says something outrageously stupid, offensive, ... Read More
Elections

Why ‘Stop Sanders’?

'Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?” T. S. Eliot asked. “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” And where is the intelligence we have lost in cleverness? Cleverness is the plague of our political classes, an influenza of the intellect. The consultants are always trying to ... Read More
Film & TV

Everyone Is Wrong about The Searchers

The greatest Western of all time . . . isn’t. Though The Searchers is regularly hailed as the finest exemplar of its genre and one of the best movies of any kind (seventh-best of all time, according to the decennial Sight & Sound poll), John Ford’s 1956 film is mediocre for most of its run time. Nearly ... Read More
Immigration

Trump Is Hell-Bent on ‘Owning the Libs’

President Trump is looking into giving a free trip to San Francisco, New Orleans, or other great American cities to tens of thousands of refugees from Central America. All so he can own the libs. “Owning the libs” is one of those phrases to have emerged over the past few years that vacillates between ... Read More