Back in 2016, lawsuits were brought against several temporary employment agencies in Chicago alleging discrimination in their hiring practices. Several outlets wrote about the case at the time, including The Chicago Reporter and the Chicago Tribune.
Another former dispatcher, Adriana Hernandez of Round Lake, has similar stories: "They would tell me, 'Remember, the supervisor doesn't want any older ladies, and she doesn't want any black people.'"
The evidence against the temp firms, including statements from several former employees, was damning; and the stories of the black workers who suffered discrimination are heartbreaking. Inferred in the coverage, if only in passing, was that the temp agencies were favoring illegal alien Hispanic workers over black citizens.
Black workers [said Leone Bicchieri, executive director of the Chicago Workers' Collaborative] are more likely to complain about wage theft or workplace injuries than Latino workers, who might be worried about their immigration status or unsure of other options.
An immigrant-dominated workforce, with language barriers and legal status concerns, is less likely to complain about failure to pay overtime, workplace injuries, wage theft or overwork, according to [Attorney Christopher Williams of the Workers Law Office in Chicago]. He described dozens of white vans that pick people up in the Little Village neighborhood, populated mostly by Mexican immigrants, and drive them to the suburbs for jobs, while black applicants will show up early at the agency office and wait all day before being told there's no work.
Those who fight against such discrimination are routinely attacked for trying to pit one minority group against another. That charge, of course, is baseless, and merely an attempt to draw attention away from the genuine harm being done to citizens of this country, with minority citizens being disproportionately harmed.
The assumption of moral superiority by those who defend discriminatory practices (the oleaginous Luis Gutierrez immediately comes to mind) has been a very successful tactic, aided all too often by a media willing to join the chorus in denouncing those of us who assert that immigration policy should serve the national interest.
That's why it's important to amplify stories like the one on Chicago, and to bring attention to voices who are willing to speak up for those Americans whose stories go largely go untold. Here are a few:
Broadcasting out of Los Angeles, Kathleen Wells has taken up the mantle of Terry Anderson, who for over a decade hosted a Sunday night radio show on in South Central. Wells' show runs on Sunday nights on KRLA AM870, and she talks a lot about the displacement of blacks in southern California, and the deafening silence of the mainstream media on that issue.
A D.C. based advocacy group, Americans4Work isn't a single-issue organization, but the disproportionate effect that immigration has on the job prospects of minorities is a big part of their educational efforts. Like NumbersUSA, Americans4Work focuses on policy, not partisan politics. Here's A4W President Tom Broadwater on the Lars Larson show (@44:45).
Derrick Hollie describes his organization as having a "transpartisan voice" and dedicated to addressing "issues affecting African Americans in our country today." Immigration sometimes comes up, and with his cohosts, Hollie dissects the issues in ways many probably haven't heard before. Here are a couple of examples: (@30:00) and (@32:00).
ERIC RUARK is the Director of Research for NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Mar 22nd 2018 @ 4:10pm EDT