When it comes to issues such as racism, immigration, and employment, American Democrats are ultimately waging a battle they’ve already lost.
In a January speech at the United States Conference of Mayors, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted President Trump’s immigration policy, calling it an effort to “make America white again”. While Pelosi received criticism for her erroneous remarks, other leftists haven’t stopped expressing similar sentiments.
In the past several weeks, American Democrats and Democratic Party officials have heavily criticized President Trump’s immigration policy, calling it (and Trump himself) racist. Whereas the President is focused on championing homeland security and immigration enforcement in order to make our nation safer, critics argue that the federal agencies who carry out his immigration initiatives, such as ICE and US Border Patrol, are taking part in an inherently racist operation.
Since the day President Trump took office, there have been calls from the American left to “abolish ICE”, “say NO to Trump’s racist immigration proposal”, and “reject Trump’s racism and all the policies that stem from it”.
With all of the objections Democrats have against Trump’s immigration policy on the basis of alleged racism, they leave out one key factor in the debate: the group most likely to benefit from President Trump’s strict approach to immigration enforcement is young black men, who often compete with new immigrants for low-skilled jobs.
That’s right, working-class black men would be the main beneficiaries of Trump’s tough immigration enforcement. They are the group that is most often passed over for jobs by unscrupulous employers. These employers opting to hire illegal immigrant workers they can get away with paying lower wages. This is the hard truth behind immigration that left-wing pundits ignore: for many Americans, the influx of immigrants significantly harms their prospects.
It is no coincidence that the labor force participation rate for adult black men has declined since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which brought a new wave of mass immigration into the United States. In 1973, the labor force participation rate for black adult men was 79%. The rate currently sits at 68%, and if current trends continue, the Bureau of Labor projects that it will drop even further, reaching a predicted 61% by 2026.
Alas, Democrats are, on some level, aware of this reality. In 2016, the Obama White House released a 48-page report acknowledging that immigration does not help the labor force participation rate of native-born Americans, and that, if anything, it can be detrimental to legal United States citizens seeking employment. While the report concludes that “immigration reform would raise the overall participation rate by bringing in new workers of prime working age”, it neglects to mention that these “new workers” actively disadvantage native-born American workers.
This influx of immigrants affects both low- and high-skilled American natives. However, since a disproportionate percentage of immigrants have few skills, low-skilled American workers—primarily African-American men—are the ones who end up suffering the most from this wage dip. In terms of our nation’s overall economy, this monetary loss is sizable.
While Democrats argue that Trump’s immigration policies are racist, they remain keenly aware that our country’s influx of immigrants harms low-skilled black workers. Democrats know this, but choose to remain in denial about it. In their eyes, “new workers” translates to “new voters”
However, Democrats only do their own party a disservice in their mission to grow a larger voter base. By courting immigrants so persistently, Democrats shoot themselves in the foot, effectively neglecting one of their largest groups of supporters; African-Americans have been a reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party for years. Democrats fail to understand that by doggedly pandering to one group, they risk losing others.
And Democrats don’t have the numbers on their side in this debate, either: in a recent Harvard-Harris poll, it was found that African-Americans favor reducing immigration more than any other demographic group. 85% want less than the million-plus we allow on an annual basis, and 54% preferred an even more stringent approach, saying they’d prefer accepting 250,000 immigrants per year or less.
While there has recently been talk of Democrats taking back the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, the fact is that if Democrats continue to go against the interests of their own supporters, they won’t be “taking back” anything. By campaigning on immigration while simultaneously standing in opposition to Trump’s alleged racism, Democrats have unwittingly set themselves up to fail.
It’s time for the Democratic Party to admit that while a lax immigration policy may help them earn new voters, it directly harms their most reliable constituency. Until this happens, expect to see left-wing politicians continue running on platforms bloated with identity politics, open-borders idealism, and other feel-good partisan opportunism.
Even when they’ve set their sights on winning, American Democrats can’t help but lose.