Our VoiceImmigration

Are African Americans Missing the Point on Immigration?

Eric Ward • Aug 06, 2008

The greatest trick that the anti-immigrant movement ever played on African Americans is convincing us that the anti-immigrant movement is no threat to us whatsoever.

I beg to differ, though. In fact, I’ll make the following modest proposal to Black America: if there were not one immigrant or refugee left in the United States, we would still have an anti-immigrant movement. Why? Well, the current so-called debate on immigration is not about coming to terms with migration issues; it’s about defining “who is an American” and, from that understanding, “what an American should look like.”

At its core, anti-immigration is a national debate about civil rights, citizenship, and national identity.

Beneath the irresponsible roar of Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and other anti-immigrant media wannabes is the underbelly of the anti-immigrant movement, a surface they hope African Americans will never even glimpse. In fact, they are so worried that America’s linchpin anti-immigrant organization — the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - has created two front groups in a bold attempt to address, i.e. to distract, African Americans en masse.

FAIR are calling their two front groups Choose Black America and the Coalition for the Future American Worker.

Both “organizations” are staffed by and/or received support from FAIR. While FAIR claims that it cares about the welfare of Black Americans, it has never used any of its resources to support one single piece of legislation seeking to lessen the economic plight of Black America. It has never attempted to return one single penny of the 1.2 million dollars that it received from anti-black organization the Pioneer Fund, and it refuses to hold board members and staffers that align themselves with individuals and organizations with ties to white supremacists and white nationalists accountable for such associations.

For all intents and purposes, FAIR are attempting to lull African Americans into a deep sleep with its constellation of organizations, and while doing so they have set about systematically dismantling voting rights at the state level. What’s more, they’re supported by armed vigilantes targeting brown skin people and are now fully seeking to destroy the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

By using the racist term “anchor baby”, some members of Congress, who are also in the ranks of another FAIR front group called the House Immigration Reform Caucus (HIRC), were able to introduce into the present House of Representatives session H.R. 1940. Sponsored by 104 Congressional Members, passage and implementation of H.R. 1940 would require the eviscerating of the 14th Amendment, a question of insurmountable import to black people whose rights as citizens are guaranteed by this constitutional amendment.

While the debate on American identity is occurring on the backs of immigrants nationwide, I think it’s time that we as African Americans come to terms with the fact that an old enemy — America’s segregationist and white nationalist movements — is undercutting the sacrifices and gains of the civil rights movement.

The first step in fighting back is admitting that the anti-immigrant movement just might be the modern day face of white nationalism.

Of course, some of us will continue to believe the lies of FAIR, but that’s nothing new. The devil has always been able to buy souls on the cheap, even ours.

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