Immigration: A Civil Rights Issue

For Martin Luther King Day, as we remember a powerful civil rights leader, we should also consider the civil rights implications of choices made by Congress on immigration policy today.  Those who call immigration reform a “civil rights” issue but also support amnesty (such as Eric Holder and Mark Zuckerberg) make the serious mistake of forgetting about one particular segment of the population who are disproportionally harmed: the black American worker.

One of the few to address this matter of civil rights has been Peter Kirsanow, an African-American Commissioner currently serving on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This month, Kirsanow wrote that if Congress were to pass amnesty legislation, it would “send the employment numbers falling further down the cliff — especially the employment numbers for low-skilled Americans” further noting that “illegal immigration has displaced hundreds of thousands of black American workers alone.”

Kirsanow backs up his assertion with thorough evidence and research.  Kirsanow pointed to a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report finding that “Illegal immigration to the United States in recent decades has tended to depress both wages and employment rates for low-skilled American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are black men.”  At the hearing that proceeded that report, a group of ideologically diverse scholars all agreed that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both for employment opportunities as well as wages.

Alarmed by the dwindling job prospects for minorities if Congress passes an amnesty, Commissioner Kirsanow joined with two colleagues on the Commission last year to write a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, declaring, that “[g]ranting amnesty to illegal immigrants will only further harm African-American workers…[by]making it difficult for African-Americans to find job opportunities.”  The Commissioners explained that there are simply not enough jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both blacks and illegal aliens.  If Congress passes amnesty, African-Americans are the ones disproportionately harmed.  The letter warned Members of Congress considering immigration reform to seriously evaluate the “earnings prospects of low-skill Americans generally and black Americans specifically.”

Kirsanow’s point seems to be heard at least by 16 Members of Congress.  These 16 wrote to President Obama on behalf of the African-Americans in this country who are “enduring chronically high unemployment.”  They called for no amnesty.  They are also calling for civil rights.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Re evaluate anchor babies as auto citizens then perhaps these illegals would be more productive and become real citizens before simply repopulating at working American’s expense. Remember too “WE THE PEOPLE” are paying for all these translations for the foreigners. Or better yet simply enforce the law!

  2. avatar

    One reason that ideot in DC wants His bill to pass is so that the people he supports and gets his money from, will be able to buy votes in this falls election. So that more Obama style Hitlers can control the public as they wish.

  3. avatar

    We have had to extend unemployment benefits and put many more on food stamps. Black males are unemployed at 65% but Obama insists we need more foreign workers and to legalize illegal aliens to compete with jobs that aren’t materializing. In the words of Spock….illogical

    • avatar

      Some sources think its because blacks will not work for minimum wage. Personally, I think if you are uneducated or otherwise unqualified and someone gives you a minimum wage job maybe you are lucky and you should clean up, show up and do a good job.

      But I am glad I am not an illegal alien. They have it tough. I had no idea going into a country where you are not a citizen, and you are illegal and demanding services and resources had anything to do with civil rights. It seems like the civil right might be an issue if some legal tax paying citizen, past or current, was deprived of some service because of an illegal alien.

      You know things need to be evaluated when you start to see all kinds of poor white people walking around.

      • avatar

        congress need to pass amnesty becauswe everybody can have a chance to work and take care of their families also america is the land of the free we need amnesty for these hard working immigrants we are all human and should be thre to help each other instead of putting each other down give them amnesty.

  4. avatar

    No Amnesty, Let’s Implement Real Civil Rights Instead

    The open border pundits frequestly use reverse logic, what they allege doesn’t support their cause, it actually harms it.

    • avatar

      These liars will do anything to get amnesty passed. The Democrats want it to build a whole new base of 12 million new Democratic voters and the republicans want it to please their corporate masters who want low wages and servitude from and for the American worker. both parties need to be tossed out on their a$$

    • avatar
      steve henderson on

      whose civil rights get violated for having illegal aliens here taking all kinds of skill level jobs ? Whose Civil Rights are violated egregiously ?

    • avatar

      Joe Carlson, If you mean it is a civil rights issue for the American-citizen blacks that we allow unfettered illegal immigration, than yes, THEIR civil rights have been violated.