Thursday, April 25, 2013

African American v Undocumented Workers

I thought that immigration reform would be an issue that would help to unite minorities, being a symbol that a common fight against potential white oppression is continuing to move forward. However, it appears that some member of the African American community see immigration reform as an issue that will hurt African American employment. The African American Leadership Council recently stated that if the current immigration bill will continue to make African American unemployment double the national average. The rationale is that currently many employers would rather hire undocumented workers because they do not have to be paid a decent wage, they do not get to receive employment benefits, and do not have to work under American established conditions. The argument is that these are jobs that African Americans would be willing to take, but are not being offered the jobs because immigrant preference. Historically, the government worked to protect white workers from the competition with African American workers as the moved north during reconstruction, with the general idea being that the government’s job is to protect its citizens, with employment being a major factor in the proper protection of citizens. While there has been argument that the jobs that undocumented workers are taking are not the jobs that African Americans want to take, the group responded with 3 types of employments that African Americans are willing to take but losing to undocumented workers; “hospitality services, construction and light manufacturing.” These are fields that have unions but are being able to fight the overwhelming nature of cheaper employment from undocumented workers. These workers are also sending a majority of their money back home to help support their families, and by allowing them legal access to the jobs it appears that the American government is more willing to help foreign families strive in foreign nations when there are domestic families that are the direct consequence of these actions.
If the purpose of government is to protect it citizen’s than the African American community that feels that legalizing illegal immigrants is a fair concern. African Americans have been fighting for equality for years and in a time where opportunities is getting better for them, it is hard to believe that the legislative action has not realized that the decisions they are making are targeting which minority population that it wished to aid. Especially since the population they are trying to help are not American citizens. The groups final argument is that they realize the immigration system in the country is broken, but simply want the government to hear their concerns before enacting a policy that has negative effects for the African American community.

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