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Civil Rights Commissioner: Amnesty will hurt Black Americans most

Central American immigrants being interviewed by border patrol
Central American immigrants being interviewed by border patrol
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Peter Kirsanow, one of eight board members on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, wrote a letter to President Obama on August 5, 2014, advising him that the legalization of millions of undocumented workers will hurt Black Americans most but will also be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This letter is well thought out, deeply researched and worth reading. Read it here.

“I write to remind you of the disastrous effect of illegal immigration on the employment of all Americans, but particularly black Americans. Any grant of legal status will serve as a magnet to prospective illegal immigrants and further depress employment opportunities and wages for African Americans. Given that the labor force participation rate is at an historic low, the unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, and there has been a precipitous decline in household wealth, the timing for such a grant of legal status could not be worse.” Commissioner Kirsanow wrote in a five-page letter to President Obama.

Commissioner Kirsanow states that black Americans are affected most by immigration and, “Granting legal status to millions of people who are in the United States illegally will continue to depress the wages and employment opportunities of African-American men and teenagers. It also will depress the wages and employment opportunities of African-Americas going forward.”

He also states that should President Obama use an executive order to grant legal status to the illegal aliens, this would be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

“Additionally, your proposed executive order will have a disparate impact on the basis of national origin. As you know, disparate impact theory holds that a facially neutral policy can nonetheless constitute unlawful discrimination if it disproportionately affects a particular group. The proposed executive order will do just that. It will necessarily disproportionately benefit people who are Mexican and Central American, which means that it will disproportionately disadvantage other ethnic groups. In other contexts, this would be considered a violation of Title VII."

Commissioner Kirsanow lastly states that granting amnesty to those who have broken the Immigration laws and crossed the border illegally is unfair to those men and women who are trying to enter the United States legally and following the rules. He states, “Lastly, the proposed executive order is unfair to people who are attempting to immigrate legally. The legal immigration process is cumbersome, time-consuming, and expensive. It took Pablo Pilco, for example, eleven years to receive permanent legal status, even though he was a skilled employee at a religious television network...”

Commissioner Kirsanow presents a viable argument that must be weighed before passing amnesty, whether by executive order or by congress.