Black Legislators on Frontline Against AZ-Style Immigration Bills

Black Legislators on Frontline Against AZ-Style Immigration Bills

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NEW YORK-- As immigrant advocates battle hardline immigration bills in state capitols across the country, they’re receiving crucial support from caucuses of black legislators.

Black politicians have come out in defense of immigrants, questioning the morality and wisdom of tough immigration legislation in states from Nebraska to Georgia, where “copycat bills” are being modeled on Arizona’s immigration enforcement legislation, SB 1070. That bill ignited a national debate last year on whether states should take immigration matters into their own hands. The fact that federal courts have blocked many parts of Arizona’s law from being implemented has not deterred the copycats.

Nineteen state legislatures have considered Arizona-style proposals this year, according to Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Project Coordinator at Progressive States Network, a New York City-based nonprofit. Ten of these proposals have been defeated, but they remain alive in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.

Black legislators have been vocal in warning that, if approved, these bills could have unintended consequences, including damage to local economies, racial profiling, and diluting the federal government’s constitutionally-granted authority over immigration matters.

In the face of an ongoing backlash against immigrants, this deepening alliance between pro-immigrant lobbyists and black lawmakers has begun to transform state-level politics around immigration.

In Mississippi, the black legislative caucus was instrumental in sinking a get-tough immigration measure that had seemingly unstoppable momentum and bipartisan support. The bill would have required Mississippi law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of people detained in any “stop, arrest, or detention” and created a state offense for failure to carry “an alien registration document.”

“There wasn’t any wavering from the black caucus” in our opposition to the immigration bill, Mississippi Rep. Jim Evans said in a phone interview this week from Jackson. “More importantly, there wasn’t any moral wavering.”

Evans, along with other members of Mississippi’s legislative black caucus— such as Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr.— were instrumental in organizing the delaying tactics that held up the bill, which finally failed in conference, after versions passed both the House and Senate, when legislators could not agree on a final version.

Evans also said Mississippi’s black caucus also helped defeat 22 other immigration-related bills in Mississippi this year, which proposed, among other things, that Mississippi public agencies offer services and materials in English only and that license plates be offered only to drivers with proof of citizenship.

Evans characterized the proposals as “more venom and more hatred.”

“Immigration is a federal policy issue between the United States government and other countries, not Nebraska and other countries,” read a resolution introduced to the Nebraska Legislature by Sen. Brenda Council, an African-American labor lawyer who represents a 70 percent black and four percent Latino Omaha district.

The resolution also asked the federal government to act on immigration reform so that states wouldn’t be pushed into considering counterproductive policies.

Though Council’s resolution did not make it out of committee, neither did LB 48, a proposal that echoed many of the Mississippi bill’s provisions, which Sen. Council vocally opposed in a March 2 committee hearing: “Let me make the record clear so there's no doubt in your mind or anyone else's mind, I'm one of those who believes that LB 48 promotes racial profiling.”

Across the country, black legislators — nearly all Democrats— have framed immigration in the language of civil rights and have sought to restrain lawmakers from taking too-hasty or draconian action on immigration.

But they were not successful in all states. In Georgia last week, the Republican-controlled state house passed an immigration measure that, among other tough provisions, encourages law enforcement to investigate the immigration status of suspects and allows officers to detain people in the country illegally.

Even if the Georgia legislators’ pleas for restraint were partly brushed aside, they had a demonstrably moderating impact on the legislation and a galvanizing effect on grassroots opposition to the bill.

Members of Georgia’s legislative black caucus played a leading role in spearheading amendments to water down the harshest parts of the bill, HB 87.

In rallies at the state capitol, African-American civil rights leaders like U.S. Rep. John Lewis joined black and Hispanic legislators in attacking the bill as an unwelcome reminder of a divisiveness Georgia should have kept in history’s dustbin. 

In one speech on the floor of the State Senate, Sen. Emanuel Jones asked legislators to remember that “it wasn’t that long ago when vigilante groups, militia groups … routinely rounded up citizens just to exact their own form of vigilante justice.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign the Georgia bill into law despite the lingering opposition of many immigrant, business, and religious groups.

Of course, not all black political leaders agree with the parallels between immigrant and civil rights, and some worry about immigrants competing with African-Americans for jobs and wages. In Georgia, Willie Talton, a black Republican, voted in favor of HB 87.

In Alabama, Democrat Barbara Boyd, a Democrat, voted in favor of a similar bill, though other black legislators such as Laura Hall have been noteworthy opponents and voted against it.

But even in states historically welcoming to immigrants, it is now African-American lawmakers who are beginning to take the initiative on immigration issues.

In New York, it was a black lawmaker from Harlem, not a Latino legislator, who introduced a bill last month that would allow undocumented immigrant students brought to the country illegally by their parents the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, in-state health benefits, and financial aid help while they study at state universities.

The bill is a scaled-down state version of the federal DREAM Act— offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant college students— which failed in the U.S. Senate last year.

Sen. Bill Perkins said he expects interethnic political alliances to become more frequent as African-American politicians explore the broad common ground uniting Latino and traditional black constituencies. 

“We’re a natural ally, and very often have the same issues,” he said in a phone interview.
 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011

These people are not legal American citizens, as soon as they are legal they will leave the black cause in dust! Out here in California they hire their own and don't pay taxes. If that is what our black so-called leaders want, then to hell with them!

Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011

now is the time for blacks and latinos to come together and send the right wind extremists back to hell. unityed we will be a political force that is going to change the face of this country and racial profiling and discrimination will finally be a thing ofd the past and we can move on as one people united and walk into the future together. a new day dawns. damn the right!

Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011


State of Arizona is thriving?

Seems a revelation has been born in the Great Canyon State of Arizona, as the Leftist Czars and open border zealots were completely wrong about their economy diving? The Obama administration immediately ran to the federal courts, and Judge Bolton issued an injunction, halting any hope of the SB 1070 policing law going into effect immediately, while the law was litigated and then jumping to the infamous 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The screaming banshees from the Liberal indoctrinated cause, advocacy groups whose agenda is a commitment to no borders at all, swore blind that Arizona would suffer economic devastation? Its a one sided to me when the Dept of In-Justice throws the book at Arizona, but remains silent when Utah legislators are pushing for a unconstitutional Guest worker program. These included massive real estate foreclosures, home buyers would give the state a wide berth, with boycotts that would hurt the State and with a main objective that illegal alien families would flee the state, leaving economic uncertainty?

So the Liberal progressive couldn't have been more wrong as Arizona is prospering. The 2010 Census has proved beyond any shadow of doubt, that unlike the illegal alien Sanctuary State of California, and equally opened to occupation Nevada, that Arizona is bristling with new arrivals. It seems that Canadian citizens frustrated with the inclement weather up North are pouring in to take advantage of the low priced homes and the depressed US dollar. Outside of Nevada, the newest illegal immigrant refuge State, Arizona is a rapidly growing in population. Lee McPheters, director of the J.P. Morgan Chase Economic Outlook Center has predicted that the State of Arizona’s population will increase by close to two percent this year.

What actually happened to retort the silly boycotts and other negative activity, thousands of patriotic citizens and permanent residence throughout the nation, disgusted with the Liberal agenda, decided to deliberately reserve Arizona as their vacation spot. The largest haven for illegal alien households, Los Angeles County issued a resolution against the financially hurting State of Arizona, which got in the craw of millions of Americans. Antonio Villaraigosa, a pro-illegal alien Mayor committed himself, to the boycott and then in retaliation Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce sent a letter stating to the city managers, saying that he would “be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation.” Los Angeles County gets 25 percent of its electricity from Arizona power plants.

On June 29, last year Governor Jan Brewer condemned the federal government for what she calls its "continued failure to secure our international border," and announced the unveiling of a new web site for donating money to the cause. She pointed out at this time that signs have been posted on federal property in Southern Arizona to warn people about the dangerous border. Within weeks close to $4 million in donations was received from over 43,000 Americans countrywide, with more than enough to cover the $1.5 million in costs for attorneys and fees. Currently, in the Frontier State the economy has shown little difference in service industries where illegal immigrants work, such as landscaping, fast food, roofing, building, car washes, factories and the hotel industry. Although illegal immigrants are disappearing from the state, prices have barely increased; BUT WHERE ARE THEY GOING?


California would be my first guess? Nevada is for sure and also Utah? Colorado? These States are exhibiting naked ignorance of the war going on in America. While Arizona begins to thrive, California has to expect more crowded classrooms full of children of illegal immigrants and of course the health care emergency rooms being further clogged to its limits. If you live in these States or any State that is pandering to foreigners, they will not only see Democrat politicians scrambling to enact laws for higher taxes, but your State deficits will rise accordingly as these people look for another haven.

Reports that SB 1070 is hurting the State economically has not taken into account the near deep recession. Since Arizona has been one of the highest growing in the Southwest, it now has one of the highest rates of home foreclosures. It has been hit harder by the recession than most of the rest of the country, except for Nevada. Arizona lost twice as many jobs as the average state during the economic decline of the past few years. Earlier last year the State of Arizona ranked 12th for job creation of the 50 states surveyed. My first wife who lives right now in Ohio, has decided to buy a home in Arizona. Not as a investor, but to live there. I have already waned her to stay well away from the border, but a gated community.

If you want an upper hand to stop these innocuous “Political Correctness” of our immigration laws, forced on us by the Lib-Democrats and their (seeking more votes) or Elite Republicans (cheap labor) our only real alternative is the TEA PARTY. Its overall platform is less government interference, fair taxes, and national security. Their leader’s will halt the unresponsiveness of both parties to our 14 Trillion deficits and not allow the credit ceiling to rise without assurances that government expenditure will be cut, including fraud and waste in entitlements. That a double layer fence will separate America from drug cartels and the far reaching economic immigrants pouring into America. There will be no Immigration reforms, which include amnesties of any kind; currently that means the Dream Act, Sanctuary States, chain migration, that are stealth amnesties. We need to look after our own people, living in poverty, not the rest of the world. Speak-up, join the TEA PARTY and make this a central issue in coming elections. Attn: Unknown numbers of illegal aliens have been caught in different malleable States voting in our elections. If you believe that your Federal and State lawmakers are not listening to you, but catering to the open border lunatics, check out the pro-sovereignty million member plus NumbersUSA.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011

step 1: visit latin american countries
step 2: notice all the black people there
step 3: turn on the spanish chanel.
step 4: notice there are no blacks (i dont mean a token amount, i mean LITERALLY, NO BLACKS)
step 5: ask yourself again, are these people really on our side, simply because they're not white? next you'll tell me that blacks and asians are on the same side too.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011

step 1: visit latin american countries
step 2: notice all the black people there
step 3: turn on the spanish chanel.
step 4: notice there are no blacks (i dont mean a token amount, i mean LITERALLY, NO BLACKS)
step 5: ask yourself again, are these people really on our side, simply because they're not white? next you'll tell me that blacks and asians are on the same side too.
now there are more hispanics in america than blacks. will theybe so generous? in the democratic primaries in 2008, hispanics and asians voted in huge numbers against obama. blacks and liberal whites put obama over the top. think about why that is.....

Anonymous

Posted Apr 20 2011

step 1: visit latin american countries
step 2: notice all the black people there
step 3: turn on the spanish chanel.
step 4: notice there are no blacks (i dont mean a token amount, i mean LITERALLY, NO BLACKS)
step 5: ask yourself again, are these people really on our side, simply because they're not white? next you'll tell me that blacks and asians are on the same side too.
now there are more hispanics in america than blacks. will theybe so generous? in the democratic primaries in 2008, hispanics and asians voted in huge numbers against obama. blacks and liberal whites put obama over the top. think about why that is.....

images

Posted Apr 30 2011

These Stories are a bunch of crap they are typical of the black elite political class,not blue collar,white collar or middle class black americans, here in California in once traditionally black communities like compton,watts,inglewood,pasadena ,south central, fresno,oakland ,ect and so on they are going the way of the dinosaur ,so called black leaders like jesse jackson, al sharpton,NAACP,black congressional cacaus are holding the DNC PARTY LINES WHILE THE BLACK COMMUNITY SUFFERS ILLEGAL ALIEN IMMIGRATION IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY 40% black youth employment here in california go into a mickey d's and look who has all the jobs,only 3% of the12 to 20 million illegal alien population actually work in the fields ,they are not coming here to work the the jobs we don't want that lie was told in 2006,2007 when they thought amnesty would be sign in to law now we know they lied ,i could go on and on i am black and this is what they see in there communities don't be fooled by the political class

images

Posted Apr 30 2011

These Stories are a bunch of crap they are typical of the black elite political class,not blue collar,white collar or middle class black americans, here in California in once traditionally black communities like Compton,Watts,Inglewood,Pasadena ,South Central, Fresno,Oakland ,ect and so on they are going the way of the dinosaur ,so called black leaders like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton,NAACP,Black Congressional Cacaus are holding the DNC PARTY LINES WHILE THE BLACK COMMUNITY SUFFERS ILLEGAL ALIEN IMMIGRATION IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY 40% of black youth are unemployment. Here in california go into a mickey d's and look who has all the jobs,only 3% of the12 to 20 million est illegal alien population actually work in the fields ,they are not coming here just to work in the fields anymore. They work the jobs we don't want that was a lie told in 2006,2007 when they thought amnesty would be sign into law now we know they lied ,i could go on and on i am black and this is what we see in our communities don't be fooled by the political class when they say POLITICS IS DIRTY GAME IT IS A FILTHY AND A DECEITFUL GAME

Anonymous

Posted Jan 7 2012

As an African-American man i can truly say these damn black democrat legislators and politiction have lost their freaking mind trying to stand up for a race of people that don't even give a damn about you, old john lewis the democrat rep. from Georgia need to close his mouth about immigration an go to somebody's old folks home, he trying to compare immigration to the civil rights movement, jessy jackson & al sharpton sorry an pitiful they are not offiicial spokes people for the African-American community. i didn't respect them enought to write their name in capital letters.

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