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Illegal immigration is hurting African Americans, according to research by a Vanderbilt professor of law and political science. In Debating Immigration, a book of essays that Carol Swain edited and contributed to, she says African Americans are losing more jobs to illegal immigrants than other racial or ethnic 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,” says Swain, citing a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, which found high unemployment rates among African Americans and Hispanics were partly attributed to the large number of low-skilled immigrants in America.
“The greatest competition occurs among people at the margins of society, a multiracial group that includes poorly educated blacks, whites and Hispanics who compete against each other and against new immigrants for low-wage, lowskill 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.
The Congressional Black Caucus, Swain writes, does not list immigration reform as a legislative priority. Some lawmakers in the CBC have large numbers of Hispanic constituents in their districts, which may lead to a conflict of interest, she says.Unless big changes take place within the CBC, there will be no official black representation on the immigration issue, which she believes is hurting the African American community.