One immigration restrictionist group wants unemployed Americans to remember that undocumented immigrants are responsible for high unemployment rates among minorities.
This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee
One immigration restrictionist group wants “unemployed minority audiences” who watch “daytime programming” to memorialize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as it was truly intended — to remember that undocumented immigrants are responsible for high unemployment rates among minorities. Such is the talking point of the anti-immigration group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), released a new ad on Tuesday to provoke division among vulnerable populations.
With “poignant music” playing in the background, a baritone voice in the ad titled “Were high American unemployment and wage depression Martin Luther King’s dream?” asks viewers to consider whether King envisioned African Americans to experience high levels of unemployment at a time when immigrants are taking jobs:
On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we must ask, how would he feel about 20 percent of African Americans unemployed or underemployed, about giving amnesty and jobs to 11 million illegal aliens with so many jobless Americans, about admitting 30 million more immigrant workers when 17 percent of Hispanic Americans are having trouble finding work, about Americans of all races not seeing a wage increase in 40 years? Was that Dr. King’s dream?Don’t like ads? Become a supporter and enjoy The Good Men Project ad free
This is not the first time that immigration restrictionists have tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants. Just last week, 16 House Republicans condemned immigration reform because it wouuld affect minority communities “enduring chronically high unemployment.” NumbersUSA similarly launched a television ad during the 2012 election cycle to portray immigrants as job takers.
Many studies have already debunked the dubious arguments high unemployment with increased immigration. Evidence suggests that African Americans have different skills than immigrants, an asset that helps them transition into higher-skilled jobs. Civil rights leader Wade Henderson noted that African-American unemployment rates have been high for decades, generally double that of the white population. At the same time, America’s Voice found that Republicans who acted as “defenders of minority workers” actually have terrible voting records on worker rights.
What makes the ad particularly disingenuous is that CAPS is funded by the white nationalist John Tanton Network, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. And what of CAPS media spokesman Joe Guzzardi, who is leading the outrage on behalf of “hardworking African-American and Hispanic American workers [who] can’t find jobs?” According to Right Wing Watch, Guzzardi has written dozens of blog posts for the white nationalist website VDARE.