U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Urges Trump to Get Better DACA Deal for Black Men’s Sake

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Peter Kirsanow, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), penned a letter to President Donald Trump Tuesday imploring him not to cave to calls for amnesty with major immigration concessions.

In the nine-page letter, Kirsanow asks Trump to confirm that he and members of Congress will:

1) Withhold agreement on any DACA deal until border wall funding is secured;
2) Withhold agreement on any DACA deal until E-Verify requirements are extended to all U.S. employers;

3) Withhold agreement on any DACA deal until the RAISE Act is passed by both Houses of Congress.

Kirsanow is a long-time immigration hawk who has argued for years that black Americans, and particularly black American men, are among the hardest hit economically by illegal immigration. He continues this argument at length in his letter, writing, “Illegal immigration has a disparate impact on African-American men because these men are disproportionately represented in the low-skilled labor force.”

Discussing a 2008 USCCR hearing, Kirsanow notes:

All the witnesses acknowledged that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both in terms of employment opportunities and wages. The witnesses differed somewhat on the precise extent of that impact, but every witness agreed that illegal immigration has a discernible negative effect on black employment.

Kirsanow goes on to cite studies showing that even where illegal immigration does not result in black men being unemployed, competition with illegal aliens often leads to lower wages and higher incarceration for them. He links both “to one of the most serious problems facing the African-American community today: the dearth of intact nuclear families.”

“The disintegration of the black family began to accelerate during the 1960s. It is one of the great tragedies of modern America that the disintegration of the African-American family has shown no signs of abating,” he argues.
The letter makes a case to President Trump to stick to his original campaign promises, build the wall, and avoid amnesty:

[R]ecent history shows that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants will encourage more people to come to the United States illegally. The 1986 amnesty did not solve the illegal immigration problem. To the contrary, that amnesty established the precedent that if you come to America illegally, eventually you will obtain legal status. Thus, it is likely that if illegal immigrants are granted legal status, more people will come to America illegally and/or through chain migration and will further crowd African-American men (and other low-skilled men and women) out of the workforce.
A border wall, in and of itself, is only part of effective immigration enforcement. But contrary to assertions that a wall will do little to stem illegal immigration, the recent example of Hungary shows that border barriers work. Prior to the construction of a wall bordering Serbia, the number of migrants entering Hungary was 391,000. After the wall’s construction that number dropped to 18,236 in 2016 and 1,184 this year.

Kirsanow is one of eight USCCR commissioners and one of only two conservatives on the body. He wrote his letter for himself, not the whole USCCR, on which he has a long experience of being in the minority. Last month, for example, he and fellow USCCR commissioner Gail Heriot tried to add the following line to a resolution on the violence in Charlottesville, VA: “Though we support peaceful protest and note that most of the counter-demonstrators were peaceful, we condemn violence by anyone, including violence by so-called Anti-fa demonstrators.”

They were voted down by all other commissioners, including one, Michael Yaki, who claimed Antifa had merely gotten “carried away.”


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