Anti-Immigrant Coalition Misstates Immigration’s Impact upon African American Workers - VIDEO



“Studies show that immigration accounts for 40% of the decline in the employment of black men.”

“Mass immigration” is also the cause of a “decline in black wages.”


The advertisement from the “Coalition for the Future American Worker” (CFAW) cites a single disputed and misleading source regarding the impact of immigration upon African American employment and wages. In selectively citing to one study (while referencing “studies”), the advertisement ignores an overwhelming body of economic research that shows that immigrants in fact have positive or neutral impacts upon employment and wages in the U.S.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers recently found that it “is difficult to detect” any negative effect of immigration upon average wages for native workers.1The Council, which is comprised of many of the nation’s top economists, concluded that immigrants tend to complement (not substitute for) native workers and raise natives’ productivity and income.2

Similarly, Dr. David Card, a researcher and economist at the University of California, has found that cities with large immigrant populations reflect little wage difference when compared with cities with few immigrants.3 CFAW ignores this scholarly study, which may be found on the same website (the National Bureau of Economic Research) to which it cites in support of its divisive, nativist rhetoric.

Dr. Steven Pitts, an economist at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, in 2006 found there is also no correlation between rising rates of immigration and unemployment among African Americans:

Since 1965, there has been a steady rise in the proportion of immigrants in the United States.If there were a link between the presence of immigrants and black employment, we would see black unemployment rates increasing as immigration increases. However, there is no correlation.4

Dr. Pitts has stated that blaming immigration masks the true causes of employment concerns for African Americans, which are “persistent racism in hiring ... and incarceration.”5

Dr. Pitts concludes that “[r]ather than pit immigrants against black workers, it would be much more useful [to U.S.-born workers] to promote policies that will transform low-wage jobs into better jobs for all workers.”6  CFAW’s advertisement and published materials avoid discussion of any barriers to high-wage employment faced by African American workers in favor of a misleading and divisive focus upon immigration.

The Economist, an internationally respected magazine of economics and politics, recently concluded its examination of immigration’s effect upon wages by declaring that “[i]f Congress wants to reduce wage inequality, building border walls is a bad way of going about it.”7 CFAW would seem to disagree.

In selectively citing a single, disputed and misleading source while ignoring a significant body of authoritative research that counters its nativist and divisive position, the Coalition for the Future American Worker presents a biased and false view of the role of immigrants in the U.S. economy and workforce. In fact, CFAW deliberately misinforms the American public in attempting to turning people, especially African Americans, against immigrants and Latinos. This is a deplorable tactic that contributes to racial tensions in America while attempting to stifle rational debate on immigration policy.

The Coalition for the Future American Worker, it should be noted, includes organizations that have been designated “anti-immigrant groups” and/or “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors and exposes organizations and individuals that foment racial hatred in the United States. See

1. Council of Economic Advisers, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” June 20, 2007
2. Id.
3. Dr. David Card, “Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?” NBER Working Paper 11547, August 2005.
4. Dr. Steven Pitts, “On Labor Day: Don’t Pit Immigrants Against Black Workers,” San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 3, 2007, D5
5. Mary O’Leary, “Blacks losing jobs to illegals? Alderman calls claim ‘ludicrous’,” New Hampshire Register, Jan 27, 2008
6. Pitts, supra note 4.
7. “Myths and Migration,” The Economist, April 6, 2006

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund