Fake 'Progressive' Group Pits Blacks Against Immigrants In Nasty TV Ad - 2014-10-23
An anti-immigrant group, dubiously named Progressives For Immigration Reform (PFIR), released a 30-second ad this week seizing on anxiety over African-American joblessness and Hurricane Katrina to slam on prospects of immigration reform. The PFIR ad criticizes the President and some Louisiana lawmakers for endorsing "amnesty for millions of illegal aliens." Suggesting that immigration reform could strip jobs away from African Americans is a political tactic employed time and again by anti-immigrant groups to manufacture tension between blacks and immigrants.
African Americans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, devastated by joblessness with the Great Recession. Now we face another challenge — our own President. He wants to double immigration and bring in millions more immigrant workers to take jobs, when many of us still can't find jobs. He wants amnesty for millions of illegal aliens who will take jobs too. Ask Louisiana's leaders where they stand on millions more immigrant workers.
Driving a wedge between the African-American community and immigrants is nothing new. Before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an immigration-restrictionist group released an ad suggesting that the civil rights leader would not approve of immigration reform because of high unemployment rates among the African-American community. Another Tanton Network organization, NumbersUSA, came out with an ad portraying African Americans as hostile to immigration in 2012. As Daniella Gibbs Léger at the Center for American Progress pointed out at the time, "Going back decades, Black unemployment has generally been about double that of the White population. If you look at the employment of Blacks and Whites on a graph, they will move up and down with each other, but they will never meet," a reality influenced by economic factors and not by increased immigrant employment. Studies find that African Americans are three times more likely than non-African American workers to "change their relative task specialization" — in other words, transition to higher-skilled jobs — as a result of immigration.