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Illegal immigration hurts African Americans; Vanderbilt professor believes Congressional Black Caucus is ignoring the issue

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New research by a Vanderbilt professor of law and political science found that illegal immigration is hurting African Americans and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is not doing enough about it.

In a new book of essays called Debating Immigration, which Carol Swain edited and contributed to, Swain said that African Americans are losing more jobs to illegal immigrants than other racial or ethic groups, yet low income black workers don’t have political input in the debate.

“African Americans have been left devoid of a strong black voice in Congress on a topic that affects them deeply, given their high unemployment rates and historic struggle to get quality housing, health care, education and other goods and services,” said Swain.

Swain used a study conducted by the



Center, which found high unemployment rates among African Americans and Hispanics was partially attributed to the large number of low-skilled immigrants. Swain added that lax or non-existent immigration rules help businesses get away with hiring illegal immigrants instead of legal workers.

“The greatest competition occurs among people at the margins of society; a multi-racial group that includes poorly educated blacks, whites and Hispanics who compete against each other and against new immigrants for low-wage, low-skill jobs.”

Swain found that cuts in governmental programs, like student loans, make it harder for low-income African American students to train for higher paying jobs.

Swain also found that some African Americans feel threatened by surges of immigrants to the

United States
because of the immigrants’ potential impact on affirmative action. Swain said any parallel between immigrant issues and the black civil rights movement is weak.

“Most illegal immigrants have willingly left their homelands to seek their fortunes in a more prosperous nation. They were not brought in chains,” she said.

Swain said that by not taking a stand on immigration, the Congressional Black Caucus is ignoring the interests of their constituency.

Swain found the CBC does not list immigration reform as a legislative priority and the CBC only mentioned immigration in one press release out of almost a hundred on its web site. Swain said some of the lawmakers in the CBC have large numbers of Hispanic constituents in their districts, which may lead to a conflict of interest.

Swain said unless there are big changes within the CBC, there will not be official black representation on the immigration issue and she believes that is hurting African Americans.

Debating Immigration is a compilation of essays from some of the world’s leading experts on immigration. It is the first of its kind to examine the issues of race and religion as they apply to contemporary immigration issues.

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