Neil Munro, Daily Caller, September 20, 2013
ACORN’s former CEO Bertha Lewis urged Africans-Americans to support increased immigration as a strategy to gain political power.
“We got some Latino cousins, we got some Asian cousins, we got some Native-American cousins, we got all kind of cousins,” said Lewis, who spoke Thursday at the annual political conference of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Cousins need to get together because if we’re going to be [part of the non-white] majority, it makes sense for black people in this country to get down with immigration reform,” said Lewis, whose ACORN group was formally disbanded in 2010 after a series of scandals.
Lewis did not mention solidarity with whites, or with people who define themselves as Americans, in her appeal for power.
“Everyone, even all white folks in this country, acknowledge that in a minute, [the] United States of America will be a new majority, will be majority minority, a brand-new thing,” she said.
In 2012, “for the first time ever in history, African-Americans outvoted white Americans. Oooh. That’s the fear of the white man. That could change everything. That’s why [immigration] should matter to us,” she declared.
Lewis got only modest applause from the room of 300 attendees, nearly all of whom were black.
But her appeal for non-white solidarity was backed up by New York Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke.
“What will happen with comprehensive immigration reform will be a new landscape of humanity in the United States of America,” Clarke told the attendees.
“America is a shape-shifter, and based on who’s here, in what numbers and at what time, determines the political outcomes,” she said. Blacks should cooperate with Latinos, she said, adding “we all have skin in the game, literally.”
The racial appeal was echoed by William Spriggs, chief economist at the AFL-CIO. “If we are going to be the new majority, we’re going to have to start acting like the new majority and start setting the new rules,” he said.
Once Congress approves an immigration increase, minorities should demand more, said Chicago Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a leading advocate of the pending Senate bill,
“The next day after we pass it, you know we’re not going to be satisfied, we’re going to come back,” he said. “We’re going to have a civil rights act, we’re going to have a voting rights act. . . . Nobody is leaving this fight once we conclude this first chapter,” he said.
“Hopefully, in 30 years, [we] can bring immigrants… from all over the world,” Gutierrez said.
The call for solidarity among non-whites was commingled with some non-racial calls for solidarity of working-class Americans.
African-Americans should not object to gains by immigrants, said Spriggs, who became a union economist after leaving an assistant secretary job at the Obama Department of Labor.
“Somebody else winning doesn’t mean you’re losing,” the economist explained. “We can’t let one set of workers be pushed aside and think we’re going to make it.”
Gutierrez urged African-American and Latino legislators to hide their disagreements from the public.
“We have tough conversations when we lock the room — but we are smart enough to lock the room,” he told the audience. “We keep our arguments to ourselves.”