's Motley Pitches Erroneous, Racially-Charged Immigration Ad

Blog ››› ››› HILARY TONE contributor Seton Motley used NRA News to make unfounded claims regarding immigrants, African Americans, and the job market.  Motley stated that if he operated a Super PAC, it would air radio ads in African-American communities suggesting that President Obama's executive order allowing deferred action for some immigrants takes jobs away from African Americans.

Motley's suggestion came during a segment on Cam & Company in which he and conservative blogger Stacy Washington speculated about what percentage of the African American vote Obama will receive on Election Day.

MOTLEY: If I had -- I tried to get a Super PAC going as we discussed earlier and it -- just my --


MOTLEY: --things fell apart, to quote Chinua Achebe. But if I had the Super PAC up and running, one of the ads I'd be running right now is on black radio stations about the executive order Obama did on the DREAM Act. Because the people that they're competing with for jobs just got an "olly olly oxen free" from Barack Obama via an executive branch fiat that said, "All these illegal aliens. Yeah, you're good. Just come in and say you were brought in here has a child and you're good." And it's that uneducated work force that's taking jobs away from the uneducated -- less educated, I don't want to sound offensive -- but it's that low-skilled job force that's competing with blacks trying to get jobs in this economy. 

Motley's attacks on immigrants because of the supposed threat they pose to African American workers are completely unfounded.  In 2011, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released a report titled "The Racial Blame Game" in which it stated, in bold, that "immigrants are not the cause of minority unemployment."

If immigrants took jobs away from large numbers of minority workers, one would expect to find higher minority unemployment rates in those parts of the country with larger numbers of immigrants.  Yet data from the 2009 American Community Survey, analyzed for the IPC by Rob Paral and Associates, indicate that there is no correlation between the size of the foreign-born population and the African American unemployment rate in U.S. metropolitan areas {Figure 1}.

Unemployment figure

[Immigration Policy Center, 3/01/2011]

The IPC also highlighted that "African American unemployment rates in many low-immigration cities are far higher than in many high-immigration cities.  For instance, immigrants were 17.6 percent of the population in Miami in 2009, but only 3.1 percent of the population in Toledo.  Yet the unemployment rate for African Americans in Toledo (30.1 percent) was much higher than that of African Americans in Miami (17.6 percent)."  Despite these high numbers, Motley's claim that black unemployment is the result of "less educated" or "low skilled" labor is unfounded because, as detailed in this issue brief from the Center for American Progress, "there are structural barriers to employment in the labor market affecting African Americans alone--obstacles that impede the advancement of African Americans."

Motley also mischaracterizes Obama's executive order as the DREAM Act, a piece of federal legislation that seeks to create a path to citizenship for undocumented youth in the U.S.  In reality, Obama's executive order, more commonly known as Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA), applies to a smaller subset of immigrants who can gain only temporary legal status in the U.S. for up to two years as long as they meet the following requirements:

1)     Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

2)     Came to the United States before reaching [their] 16th birthday;

3)     Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 

4)     Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making [their] request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

5)     Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or [their] lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

6)     Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and

7)     Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Contrary to Motley's claims, immigrants applying for DACA cannot just say they were "brought in here has a child and [they're] good."  In addition to collecting documents to prove every one of the above requirements, applicants must also complete and mail three federal forms, pay a $465 fee, and have their fingerprints taken in person as part of an extensive background check.  Even then, not every case is guaranteed approval.  And in contrast with an estimated 150 million people in the U.S. labor force, the total 4,591 immigrants who have been granted deferred action since August 15 seems relatively small, and certainly not worthy of such blatant fearmongering.

Posted In
Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Immigration
Cam & Company
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