March 1, 2023
By Horace Cooper and Tom Homan
For the last several years, there has been significant media attention paid to our nation’s struggle with immigration, with much of the focus on our southern border and the impact on the nation as a whole.
While these are important matters, we want to bring attention to another aspect of this crisis that is no less important yet rarely discussed: the permissive attitude of our political leaders toward illegal immigration that is devastating America’s Black communities.
Simply put, our ruling class’s addiction to illegal immigration makes Black Americans less safe. This is most clearly seen in the way big-city mayors embrace sanctuary policies. When a community proclaims it will harbor those here illegally, a large number of illegal aliens will inevitably arrive.
While most of those people may be nonviolent, among that population is a criminal element from gangs such as MS-13, the 18th Street Gang and others. This element preys not only on others here illegally but anyone in densely populated urban areas, which largely includes Black Americans.
One of the worst examples of this is taking place in Chicago. Under its absentee landlord, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago has become a lawless hellscape where weekends of double-digit shooting victims are the norm.
Since Ms. Lightfoot took office, the city has reportedly seen 2,278 homicides and over 9,000 shot. Since the beginning of the year alone, Chicago has had 41 homicides and 194 people shot (these are numbers from Jan. 29; the current tally is even higher).
Not coincidentally, Ms. Lightfoot is a vocal supporter of sanctuary policies in Chicago.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “the vast majority of illegal drugs distributed in
Chicago are supplied by Mexican cartels. … At this time there does not appear to be any viable competitors to the Mexican drug trafficking organizations for control over the wholesale-level supply of illegal drugs to the Chicago area.”
The Cook County government has confirmed 1,599 opioid-related deaths for 2022. Almost 500 of its pending cases will be due to opioid toxicity, putting the final number for the year at over 2,000. Already challenged with a failing public school system and runaway crime, the last thing the Black population of Chicago needs is a city flooded with illegal drugs from gang members that should not be in the country at all. Yet that is what Ms. Lightfoot has given them with her insistence on destructive sanctuary policies.
In addition to the harm that illegal immigration causes communities due to higher crime, there is also a significant harm it causes to the economic bottom line of working-class families. Black Americans are hit especially hard because illegal immigrants compete disproportionately for jobs held by Blacks.
Black men (who have the highest unemployment in the U.S.) are the biggest victims of low-wage illegal labor. It comes down to Economics 101: When there is an oversupply of low-skilled labor, the price of said labor will be depressed.
A 2008 Civil Rights Commission analysis showed that nearly half of the decline in labor force participation rates among Black men over the past 30 years is due to the oversupply of illegal immigrant labor. That means that more than 1 million Blacks have lost out on job opportunities to the illegal immigrant labor pool. Unemployment or even super underemployment creates significant hurdles to marriage in the Black community and leads to greater levels of poverty for Black youth.
Worse, it correlates with higher levels of incarceration.
Suppression of family formation and wealth creation as well as high incarceration rates are the kind of toxic outcomes that America doesn’t need, especially minority communities. But unchecked illegal immigration makes all of these fixtures in Black communities.
It is a common theme in news coverage today that minority communities are “hit hardest” by any number of social problems. This is especially true when it comes to the effect of illegal immigration on Black America, yet it is hardly ever mentioned.
The reason for this is clear: Certain politicians and anti-borders activist groups are benefiting from illegal immigration. Rather than fix the problem, they promote more of it. But the same politicians will pander to Black communities in election season — even as they champion policies that are deadly to those communities.
• Read more about the tragic effects of illegal immigration in the Black community in Project 21’s newly released study, “What Immigration Policy Means for Black America.”
Horace Cooper is chairman of Project 21 and a board member at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Tom Homan is a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Also published at The Washington Times, March 1, 2023.
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