Illegal Immigration Bigger Threat to Black Americans than Police Brutality

The flood of low-skilled illegal aliens into the U.S. has eroded the low-skilled job market for American blacks and driven the labor participation rate for this sector to dangerous lows.

This replacement of lower skilled black Americans with illegal aliens has a profound effect on the American economy and the social make up of the black community in America.

“It’s a bigger threat to black livelihood,” Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said, adding that illegal immigration “dwarfs” the more inflammatory issues of police brutality, saying, “When you look at the hundreds of thousands of blacks thrown out of work over the years as a result of the competitive pressure the downstream effects are profound.”

The number of unemployed black workers in the U.S. is soaring, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 12.2 million black people of working age were not in the labor force in March, meaning they had neither been employed nor actively sought a job for at least four weeks.


The labor force participation rate for black men ages 20 and older is more than 5 percentage points lower than it is for white men, and for those in the labor force, the black unemployment rate is more than double the white unemployment rate, at 10.1 percent versus 4.7 percent.

While the jobless numbers are eye-popping in a bad way, the knock-on effects of unemployment and the lack of upward mobility in the job market has destructive effects socially.  Many of the problems urban protesters complain about are a downwind effect of the illegal immigration influx.

“When unemployment rates increase, black institutionalization rates also increase. Individuals who don’t have jobs are less likely to be married or to get married, which means you are more likely to have kids out of wedlock. It’s a self-perpetuating negative cycle,” Mr. Kirsanow said. “These are the things that the Congressional Black Caucus and the president have refused to address and are things that are tremendously harmful to the prospects of black Americans economically, socially and culturally.”

The effect of illegal immigration on wages in the U.S. is a hotly debated topic.  However, the data for lower skilled workers tends to be pretty clear cut:

A 2007 study by economists George Borjas and Lawrence Katz found that increases in immigrant workers from 1990 to 2006 reduced the wages of low-skilled workers by 4.7 percent and college graduates by 1.7 percent.

In 2009 Mr. Borjas, a Harvard professor, specifically studied the effects of immigration on the economic status of black men and found that a 10 percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced black wages by 2.5 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 5.9 percentage points and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by 1.3 percentage points.

“It is evident that there is a negative correlation between changes in employment propensities and the immigrant share, and that the correlation is stronger for black men,” Mr. Borjas wrote.

This is not a new point. It’s been made publically many times but never seems to get the play it deserves.

“The long-term, large-scale flow of immigration into the United States has worked to erode both the wages and employment prospects of African-American workers,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interests, in a statement to The Times.

Simple, common-sense approaches to illegal immigration would have a big impact on black employment.

“We are not serious about securing the border; we are not serious about enforcement; we are not serious about e-verify. All of these things would be extremely helpful to low-skilled workers and, particularly, black Americans,” Mr. Kirsanow said.