On Immigration: Beware Of The Black American Leadership Alliance

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[Op-Ed]

Obama won because of record Black voter turnout rates

 

Today, a Black rogue, Right Wing Front, The Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) is misrepresenting what Comprehensive Immigration Reform means to the Black community.

The Anti-Amnesty March on Washington is nothing but a misleading attempt to have the American public think the Immigrant population comes to the U.S. to take jobs and furthermore that this is the domineering concern of Black immigrants. This is simply not the case.

Majority of Black immigrants come here legally from Africa, South America and the Caribbean. They are among the most highly educated members of our society.  They go on to build an independent life for themselves here as many of our parents and us have done.

Take for instance former Secretary of State, Colin Powell - a Black, Republican of Caribbean descent, who contributed greatly to both this country and the Black community.  Blacks need to be involved in Comprehensive Immigration Reform and I strongly believe there are still many changes that need to be made to the current compromise that we can, should and will be voicing as a community.

Most demographic discussions of politics or social policy that involve race center on the classification of any Black in the U.S as African American.  However, it is estimated that there are over 60 million first and second generation African Americans with immigrant backgrounds. The changing demographics of the U.S. population are not only browning, but the political and social impact of African Americans from immigrant backgrounds will also have a profound effect on government, the economy and social constructs.

The African American voter turnout rate for the first time exceeded the White voter turnout rate in 2012. The call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform was put into stark relief by the impact it would have on the Latino vote in the future. The changing demographics in this country demand that we examine the African American and Latino vote and voters.

Today’s March however is not about immigration, it is about partisan politics - another strategic and calculated attempt by the Tea Party to attack Black voting power.

Do not be duped by this blatant endeavor to blur the issues.  There is solid support among African American voters for immigration reform (66% favor, 16% oppose). Most do not agree with the assertion that immigrants are taking jobs away from African Americans. Moreover, the attitudes toward immigrants are mostly positive.

In fact, more than 7 in 10 believe that immigrants contribute to our economy, communities, and culture, and while they remain pessimistic with regards to the economy as a whole, more than 3 in 5 still support immigration reform, regardless of their economic outlook.

The fear of the Black vote is real and has been made evident by the Senate’s attempt to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program, The Supreme Court’s recent decision on Voting Rights, and now this sorry Black Front.

As we move forward with the immigration debate and eagerly wait for the House to take its turn at the mic, it is clear that there is a lot of work ahead, which is why we need our community to be active and not complacent.  It is time to take action, voice our concerns – build a bridge, not wedge a gap.

Today we call on our brothers and sisters to stand up and make their voices heard on true Comprehensive Immigration Reform that offers ALL immigrants the same benefits, protections and rights!

 

By Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute

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