One desperate tactic in the playbook of those who oppose immigration reform has been to try and split the coalition of supporters, by pitting immigrants and African Americans against each other. Nativists have tried time and time again to paint the specter of immigrants taking jobs away from African Americans, despite high-profile leaders like the NAACP and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights supporting immigration reform, and the fact that those who argue “on behalf” of African Americans and against immigrants often have a dismal history of actually supporting policies that would help African Americans.
Today, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, in conjunction with Lake Research Partners, released a new poll of more than 800 African American likely voters to (as Leadership Conference President and CEO Wade Henderson said) “put this controversy to rest.” The findings counter the myth that most African Americans believe they compete against immigrants for jobs and wages, and show solid support for an immigration reform proposal that includes a roadmap to citizenship.
Here are some of the findings of the poll:
- Two-thirds of African American voters (66%, versus 16%) support immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship.
- A majority of African Americans (60%) disagree that immigrants take jobs away from African Americans. Even among African Americans who are pessimistic about the economy, 3 out of 5 respondents still said that they supported immigration reform.
- African Americans, in large majorities, are likely to see immigrants as people who hold similar values and share the same fate. Seventy-six percent of respondents believe that immigrants are exploited by corporations and businesses in the same way other low-wage workers are, while 71% believe that immigrants contribute to our economy, communities, and culture.