Posted on August 9, 2010

Black Voices Muted in Immigration Debate

Ryanne Persinger, Charlotte Post (North Carolina), August 5, 2010


{snip} Nationally, blacks who are likely to vote support enforcement of current laws, including Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, which opponents maintain encourage racial profiling.

According to a February Zogby poll commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies, 70 percent of black respondents said illegal immigration is caused by lax federal enforcement, compared to 16 percent who blame immigration limits. Eighty-one percent said Americans are available to work unskilled jobs most immigrants take, as opposed to 6 percent who say more immigrants should be allowed entry due to a shortage of Americans. Half support enforcement of laws that would lead to deportation of undocumented aliens, while 30 percent favor granting legal status and a path to citizenship.


“In the end we will all be affected by these laws,” she [LaWana Mayfield, Mecklenburg Justice program coordinator at Grassroots Leadership] said, “whether you’re African American or not. If you’re fair-skinned and don’t look white you are going to be stopped and questioned about your citizenship. People of color are a target.”

Mayfield {snip} says black leaders may show up at pro-immigration events but not rank and file members of the community.

“Why aren’t more of us showing up?” she asked. “We, as African Americans, should know about racial profiling. It’s not just the Hispanic community, it’s the African community as well.”


Jim Black, a Charlotte marketing consultant who works with Hispanic clients, said the reason more blacks don’t participate in the immigration debate is because there is no viable national leader.


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