"There is a reality that all low-wage workers-
Black, white, and Latino-are in competition with
each other for jobs. Forty percent of African-
American workers are stuck in low wage, service
sector jobs. These are also the jobs that
employers are most likely to seek out
undocumented workers to fill. This isn't the fault
of the undocumented; this is the reality of the
So writes Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor in the July-
August 2006 issue of International Socialist
Review. The premise being that the
"undocumented," the new euphemism for illegal
immigrant, has a legal right to seek work and
compete with the most under-employed
Americans. This is magical thinking. It is the
kind of magical thinking that prompted a
gentleman on NPR to state that Blacks have
benefitted in Los Angeles from the immigrant
population; his reasoning was that Blacks now
have a bigger portion of the public sector jobs,
because they speak English. What he didn't say is
that Los Angeles has lost half of the Black
population since 1970 in large part due to
immigration. The same can be said for New
York, which has lost Black population while
gaining a White one because of European
immigration and Hispanics who identify as
Social scientist have long tried to conceal that with the influx of an illegal population what follows is Black flight. The reason in my opinion is should Blacks ever begin to question the benefits of illegal immigration to Blacks, we will find there is little to recommend it. The history of immigration legal or otherwise has long been the bain of Black existence in America.
The 1919 Race Riots in Chicago, the worst in the state's history, were caused due to racial tensions between ethnic White immigrants and Blacks. The riot was due to a young Black man being killed for inadvertently rowing his boat at an "informally" segregated beach. But the tensions were sparked due to competition for jobs and housing in and around the stockyards. Richard J. Daley, the Chicago Mayor who issued a shoot to kill order during the 1968 riots following the death of Martin Luther King; was a 17 year old active member of an ethnic Irish club named as instigators of violent attacks on Blacks, in the investigation that ensued the riots.
Susan Olzak wrote in Labor Unrest, Immigration, and Ethnic Conflict 1880-1914 that immigration, economic downturn, and contagion processes all raise the rate of ethnic conflict. So the question I want to ask is why are Black "leaders" in an effort to bring attention to the erosion of The Voting Act obscuring the issue by including Alabama's Immigration law? I believe many see their districts changing, and in an effort to maintain their own power are willing to throw their current constituents from the train. Our very right to vote is guaranteed by an Act. But the same "undocumented" immigrants they are marching for if granted an amnesty will have the full voting rights of other citizens without an ACT of Congress.
Black people especially those who have never competed for jobs with illegal immigrants have the weight of our own history on our backs. And because of it people tend to support the fight for "civil rights" which is really the fight to circumvent the law. And by the way, that fight includes circumventing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well. The whole purpose of Title VII was to ensure that the old boy network used by Whites to keep Blacks from jobs would end. What has happened is the old boy network has been replaced with network hiring. I know how it works because I've seen it in action. Your boss stops letting all the employees know when there will be an opening he only tells his illegal help or they tell each other when they are leaving.
In horseracing we not only had to train the people who were taking our jobs, when they became a majority they would tell the boss they didn't need the 1 day we had off. You could count on a decrease in pay or an extra horse which amounts to a decrease in pay and an increase in work; because you want or need to keep your job. Nowadays the majority of the labor is Hispanic, track management pays for immigration lawyers to council the help on how to circumvent the law (I've spoken to them they encourage their clients to lie). In the meantime the only people who are allowed to speak to the issue are either the beneficiaries of the coming amnesty or people who have never had to compete for these jobs.
History repeats itself, the simple reason that Black Latinos aren't cast as Hispanic is because there is a major effort to assimilate Hispanics into the mainstream. The reason is the majority identify as White. The last century was fraught with ethnic tension which eventually faded as each group moved into the mainstream culture.
I'm linking two articles on the march one will focus on those who marched back in 1965 still in the struggle to ensure their right to vote. The other will show a movement that has angled to conflate the rights of non-citizens with those of the least represented citizens, and our struggle for our rights as citizens. I fully support the civil rights granted to all citizens under the law. I don't support a group so desperate to find a winning argument for the variety of laws they've broken, that they hijack an event soaked in the blood of my people. And I don't support Black "leaders" who do precious little to motivate their natural constituents and therefore have to form untenable coalitions. Once our purpose has been served we will find little support for full Black employment with La Raza or any of the other organizations working towards an amnesty. And no one will remember that amnesty was carried on the backs of Blacks.