Why immigration matters to black AmericaFrom The Grio — Immigration reform, and the politics surrounding it, have become synonymous with Hispanic-Americans.

Never mind the fact that the vast majority of Latinos in America are already citizens, born in the United States, and that not every immigrant — documented or otherwise — is Hispanic. The easy stereotypes make for simplified storytelling. But the issue of immigration, as you might expect, is far more complex.

For black America, the conversation about comprehensive immigration reform has often seemed disconnected from the core experience of most members of the community.

So it might come as a surprise to some that Ben Jealous, head of the NAACP, will keynote today’s Washington D.C. rally calling on Congress to pass an immigration bill.

African-American leaders rally to the cause
“We need common sense solutions that uphold our nation’s values and move our nation forward,” Jealous said of his reasons for participating in the Wednesday rally. “It is time to put to rest far-right-wing delusions about mass deportations and massive racial profiling programs like those in Alabama and Arizona. The very idea of America demands and deserves that we fix our nation’s broken immigration system in a way that would make Lady Liberty proud.”

Jealous is not the only African-American engaged on the issue. On Tuesday, New York representatives Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries, along with Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford, co-chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus’ immigration task force, held a form on “immigration reform in black America” at Howard University.

And on Saturday, CBC member Rep. Donald Payne will participate with the SEIU union in a pro-immigration reform rally at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.

“America is a nation of immigrants.  Nowhere is that more evident than in the 10th Congressional District. We have welcomed large populations of different immigrant groups from Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean,” Payne said in a press release Tuesday. “It is our diversity that is our incredible source of strength, and we must remember that many of our parents and grandparents faced the same challenges immigrants face today – opposition, incredible prejudice, and the challenge of learning a new language.”

It’s the economy, stupid
So why should black America care about immigration reform? It’s simple — the numbers, and the economy.

According to the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Immigration Policy, which released a series of recent studies on black immigrants to the U.S., black Africans are among the fastest growing U.S. immigrant groups — comprising 3 percent of all foreign-born Americans — some 1.1 million people. Their numbers have grown at accelerating rates in recent decades — up 200 percent during the 1980s and 90s, and up nearly 100 percent since 2000.

Diversity visas — a program whose goal is to increase the share of immigrants from underrepresented countries, are the most common way African immigrants come to the U.S., and in recent months, black caucus members have fought to save the program, and its approximately 55,000 annual visas, from sequestration cuts.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • Although western European nations who don’t have the open borders are also the nations headed for economic decline because as their populations age there are less and less children being born to be the future workers who will fund their retirement programs and keep their economies vibrant. The dirty secret about immigration is that it is the lifeblood of the capitalist economy. Immigrants tend to be younger and more risk takers than the general population. You have to be young and a risk taker to uproot yourself and sometimes your family and travel 1,000s of miles to live in a place where you may not only be unfamiliar with the language and culture but have no legal right to work and be excluded from many social and legal protections afforded citizens. All the while going on a sliver of hope that it may workout for the best, a view that may seem trite but it is invaluable to a dynamic society.
    Go to the major metro areas in this country with large black immigrant populations and tell me if you do not see things happening. As folks are working their butt off to make a better life. People who are worried about immigrants snatching crumbs from citizens need to expand their view. Who worries about crumbs and not about slices?
    I can assure you that most of those immigrants are being driven by a desire to have a slice.
    From an economic perspective we are going need a continual infusion of immigrants especially in the next 30 years as more and more baby boomers go into retirement, the US will require a young workforce to support their healthcare and retirement needs. An added value of immigrants is the fact that many are also moving into rural America reviving towns that were dying from a youth flight. To the point where small towns in the Midwest are being revived as Jose and Maria are marrying John and Sally and saving the family farm or small business. Regular citizens are just not having enough children to provide future workers.

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      Everything you said is both morally right and factually correct. Alan greenspan said that continued solvency of social security absolutely depends on immigrant workers. Many of whom contribute millions into the system the will NEVER be able to touch. Undocumented workers who pay into unemployment, medicare, ss, can never access those funds even once they become legalized,
      They can only drawn down from what they contribute once theyre legal. Our benefits are dependent on the free money we get from these aspiring americans.