Politic365

 
 


Policy

12:32pm May 15, 2013

Immigration Debate Snubs Blacks, Caribbean Natives

immigration2

 By Julianne Malveaux for the Philadelphia Tribune

The Senate’s Gang of Eight has put together an 844-page monstrosity known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, legislation that President Obama says he “basically approves” of. The crafters of this essentially unreadable bill were Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Michael Bennett, D-Col., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeff Flake and John McCain, R-Ariz. and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

On its surface, the bill provides much-needed relief to many of the 11 million undocumented people who live in our country. The challenge is that it disadvantages some immigrants, especially African and Caribbean immigrants, while helping others.

Further, the senators crafting the bill put goodies into it that only serve to advantage themselves or their states. Graham wants more visas for the meat-packing industry. Schumer provided special provisions for Irish people with a high school diploma (why?), Rubio, the much- touted possible presidential candidate in 2016, asked for more visas for the cruise ship industry, and Bennett wants more visas for workers in ski resorts.

Meanwhile, the legislation would eliminate the Diversity Visa Program, which allows a visa lottery for countries that have low levels (fewer than 50,000 people) of immigration to the United States. Many African immigrants come here through this program (Ghana and Nigeria each had 6,000 immigrants through this program in 2011; African immigrants are 36 percent of those receiving diversity visas). Thus, while Schumer pushes for special provisions for Irish immigrants, there is no one on the Senate side pushing for special provisions for African and Caribbean immigrants.

Instead of the Diversity Visa Program, the Senate Bill 744 creates between 120,000 and 200,000 visas on a “merit-based” system, which gives highest priority to those who have future employment opportunities. Because employers do not seek out African and Caribbean immigrants for employees (as they seek out Indian and Chinese employees), the merit-based point system is likely to provide fewer opportunities for those from Africa and the Caribbean. Schumer’s special provision for the Irish carries no stipulation that these people be employed, essentially granting them a pass from the merit-based point system.

With unemployment over 7 percent, and Black unemployment over 13 percent, surely there are unemployed people who could work effectively in technology companies. Howard University economist Bill Sprigs has written that there are proportionately more African-American students majoring in computer science than whites. Many of these graduates cannot find jobs. Meanwhile, African and Caribbean immigrants get just a small percentage of H-1B visas.

The Immigration Modernization bill will spend $4.5 billion in an attempt to secure the southern border, which will “secure” our country from Mexican immigrants, but ignores the northern border, which makes our country more open to Canadian immigration. Of course, Canadian immigrants are more likely to be white, and thus less feared, than Mexican immigrants. The Congressional Black Caucus is one of many groups that suggest that this $4.5 billion could be more effectively spent, perhaps on STEM education.

The immigration bill is by no means final. The House of Representatives still has to vote on it, and many of them will add amendments and exceptions to take care of their pet causes. Meanwhile, President Obama has been urging Democrats to accept the immigration bill as it is, because too many amendments may jeopardize it. For example, Sen, Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) would like to propose an amendment that would allow gay Americans to sponsor their partners for green cards. The Judiciary Committee is likely to pass this amendment, but the whole Senate might not.

President Obama has had a bad year, so far. He didn’t get his way on gun control, and he’s been kicked around by an obstructionist House of Representatives. He needs immigration reform to fulfill promises he made to the Latino community during his campaign. But the unwieldy 844-page piece of legislation contains lots of provisions that don’t pass the smell test. It makes it more difficult for African and Caribbean immigrants to become citizens of the United States.

The African-American community must take a closer look at this legislation. If Schumer can give 10,000 Irish immigrants the open door, how many Africans and Caribbeans will he make exceptions for? At the very minimum, Congress should restore the Diversity Visa program. The bill is called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Exactly who will have more economic opportunity? And is immigration really being modernized when it locks foreign-born Black people out of the process?

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is president emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.



About the Author

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor





 
 

 
12528079994_effe7e5af7_k

New Poll: Millennials considered swing vote in upcoming election

On Wednesday, the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) released a new poll of 18-29 year olds. Here are some of the key findings about America’s largest generation and how they might vote next Tuesday: 50% of 18-29 year ol...
by Adriana Maestas
0

 
 
crop1

Record Number of African Americans Running Statewide in 2014

A record number of African Americans are running statewide for the midterm elections.  Below is a chart of the candidates who will be on the ballot on Tuesday.
by Lauren Victoria Burke
0

 
 
dccc1

DCCC Begs for Cash Again, Finally Mentions a Black Person Running for Congress

The Hill, Mike Lillis: ”Democrats have raised $163 million to the GOP’s $125 million. That’s an enormous discrepancy, especially considering that Republicans control 34 more House seats than Democrats … The DCC...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
0

 

Advertisement
 
2278029793_90f710fd59_b

Will Latina Voices Be Heard on Election Day?

By Maria Elena Perez, National Institute of Reproductive Health As we come to yet another important election season, in which our basic right to choose hangs in the balance, we must ask: what is at stake for Latinas’ access t...
by Guest Contributor
0

 
 
Kay Hagan immigrants

Immigrant activists target Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan with billboard campaign

This week a group of immigrant activists in North Carolina unveiled a billboard campaign taking aim at Democratic Senator Kay Hagan for her immigration positions. Hagan was one of the five Democratic senators who opposed the DR...
by Adriana Maestas
0

 




5 Comments


  1. [...] TennesseeThe TennesseanImmigrants Who Are Detained Should Have the Right to a LawyerSlate MagazinePolitic365all 6 news [...]


  2. [...] reform bill sets Dec. 31, 2011 cutoff date to qualify for legal status  – NYDN • Immigration Debate Snubs Blacks, Caribbean Natives – Politic365 • Immigration group in the House facing make-or-break moment – [...]


  3. [...] reform bill sets Dec. 31, 2011 cutoff date to qualify for legal status  – NYDN • Immigration Debate Snubs Blacks, Caribbean Natives – Politic365 • Immigration group in the House facing make-or-break moment – TH [...]


  4. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended
    up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>