By Amanda Peterson Beadle
The anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, which seeks to limit legal immigration, has put out a new, racist ad that tries to pit African Americans against immigrants. It features an African American man with his family explaining that he needs a job:
What I don’t understand is why our leaders are going to admit another million immigrant workers next year to take jobs when 3 million black Americans can’t find work. I mean, do our leaders really think black Americans don’t want to work? Let’s slow down mass immigration and save jobs for Americans — all Americans.
Lest there be any doubt, this appeal to racial resentment has no basis in reality. In truth, immigration helps boost the economy. For example, if Congress passed the DREAM Act, the qualified undocumented immigrants who received legal status could pursue higher education and earn higher salaries, which leads them to spend more and pay more in taxes. That would lead to an economic impact of $329 billion and 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.
Persistently high unemployment rates for African Americans is a systemic problem that cannot be addressed simply by reducing the number of immigrants. Instead of getting rid of work permits, lawmakers should focus OQ programs for job training and job creation as well as vigorously enforcing policies that stop labor market discrimination in order to help African American workers.
It should not be a surprising, however, that anti-immigrant groups are touting spurious claims in order to push their agenda. In 2009, CNN aired an incendiary ad by the nativist front group Coalition For The Future Of The American Worker, warning that the government is letting in 1.5 million foreign workers a year to take jobs from the 15 million unemployed Americans.
And an anti-immigrant California group ran a TV ad blaming global warming on immigrants. The lies and distortions do not change the fact that immigration is good for the U.S. economy, and it is contemptible to try to pit Americans against each other and against immigrants to stop it.