Roy Beck's Picture

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  by  Roy Beck

Major media -- after ignoring the subject throughout the campaigns -- have finally been focusing on just how bad joblessness and poverty are for Black Americans.

Here in Washington, the Post ran a startling front page story over the weekend. And in the opinion section, it ran long-time open-borders columnist Michael Gerson's touching op-ed, "The ignored plight of black males."

EMPLOYERS HAVE ABANDONED RECRUITMENT CHANNELS INTO POOR BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS

Of course, none of the stories on Black poverty mentions that immigration for three decades has engorged the labor market, making it easy for employers to stop recruiting workers from poor Black communities, as well as from other pockets of America's underclasses.

Another set of reporters clamors about the moral necessity of increasing immigration and providing a PATH TO CITIZENSHIP for millions of illegal aliens while totally ignoring how immigration is blocking the PATH OUT OF POVERTY for all of America's underclasses, especially for the descendants of our past slavery system.

Two quick examples of how bad it is: Only half of working-age Black Americans with a high school degree have a job. Less than a third of those without a degree are working.

The nation's immigration system has resulted in 26 million foreign-born workers holding U.S. jobs. At the same time, 20 million Americans who want a full-time job can't find one.

As has happened in every great wave of immigration, the nation's employers have eliminated channels of recruitment into poor Black communities.

(Let me clear that I am NOT writing in this blog about all Black Americans, many of whom not only are middle class but are in upper-class jobs.  My focus here is on the portion of the Black population that has no more than a high school degree and lives in or near poverty.  All Americans of all races and ethnicities with this profile deserve our concern. But the concentrations of this kind of poverty are by far the worst among the Black underclass.)

Employers don't have to recruit Black American workers for construction, manufacturing, service and transportation jobs because the government provides masses of new immigrant workers every year who, as the Post noted, have built-in job networks and a rootlessness that give them advantages for the scarce jobs of this economy.

DRIVING THROUGH NEIGHBORHOODS OF BLACK UNEMPLOYMENT IN 17 STATES

This year, Shirley and I witnessed the results of three decades of this phenomenon. We traveled through 17 states. We often made a point of driving through the older, predominantly Black-population parts of cities and towns. In the middle of the day in the middle of the work week, we were struck particularly by the fact that from our car we could see huge numbers of Black working-age men who were not working. Of course, there could be various reasons other than joblessness, but most likely we were seeing what the U.S. Labor Department statistics tell us we would find in every poorer Black neighborhood across the country.

Now, some people will try to claim that those men we saw are too lazy to want a job, or that they demand too much pay or too easy of working conditions. But the government stats tell us that masses of Black Americans are trying to find a full-time job and are being turned down while the government continues to import more foreign workers.

Columnist Gerson expressed the greatest concern for the young men of the underclass:

Our politics moves from budget showdown to cultural conflict to trivial controversy while carefully avoiding the greatest single threat to the unity of America: the vast, increasing segregation of young, African American men and boys from the promise of their country."

Incredibly, many of the people in Congress who -- sincerely, I think -- are the greatest voices for addressing the "segregation from promise" for the Black underclass are also among the loudest voices for increasing immigration.

We must force every Member of Congress to contemplate whether giving one million new legal permanent immigrant work authorizations each year -- or whether giving that authorization to another 11 million illegal aliens -- makes it even more difficult for millions of our Black fellow citizens to find a job and begin to climb out of poverty.

If they won't at least consider the balance sheet on that, they cannot claim to truly have compassion for these suffering members of our national community. That also goes for the media who fail to address immigration policy and American poverty in the same stories.

Please join with hundreds of thousands of other Americans and send this message to your elected leaders by signing up to send free faxes on our NumbersUSA website.

 ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

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