TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Illegal Immigration: A Frontal Assault on Black Communities
- A Long-Recognized and Unaddressed Problem
- Illegal Immigration and the Fentanyl Crisis
- Based on a Myth: Santuary Cities and States
- Diluting the Black Vote
- Illegal Immigration and the Housing Market
- Project 21 • What We Believe About Immigration
WHAT IMMIGRATION POLICY MEANS FOR BLACK AMERICA
is the fifth topic in the Project 21 series "What It Means for Black America"
Other topics in the series include:
- CRITICAL RACE THEORY
- ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
- ELECTION REFORM
To receive booklets of other topics in the What it Means for Black America series, please contact Project 21 at [email protected] or visit: www.NationalCenter.org/Project-21 to download a PDF.
Project 21 is a division of the
NATIONAL CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH
a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, D.C.
COPYRIGHT © 2023 • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WHO WE ARE
Project 21 is an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research, launched in 1992 to promote conservative and libertarian black leaders in the media so that news coverage better reflects the true diversity of thought within the black community.
Project 21 members have been interviewed over 50,000 times — currently averaging more than two television interviews each day — appearing on Fox News Channel, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, NewsMax and One America News Network. In addition, Project 21 members are interviewed on radio an average of nearly 1.5 times per day and have appeared on major radio stations and shows with hosts such as Sean Hannity, Jim Bohannon and the late Rush Limbaugh. Members are also frequently published and quoted in newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, Detroit News, Houston Chronicle and many others.
Project 21 members come from all walks of life and from all over the country. Its membership includes members of the clergy, business leaders, entertainers, athletes, economists, journalists, attorneys and students.
What Project 21 members have in common is a desire to make America a better place for black Americans — and all Americans — to live and work.
They do so not only by writing op-eds and participating in radio and TV interviews on the most important issues of the day, but also by advancing a positive vision for improving the lives of black Americans. Project 21 publishes the “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America" offering specific policy recommendations for helping black America reach its full potential. Notably, these recommendations build on key aspects of Americanism — free enterprise, personal responsibility and limited government — and consequently would result in benefits for the country, not just blacks. It also publishes the “What It Means for Black America” series of monographs that assess policy initiatives for their specific impact on people of color.
Project 21 members also give speeches before student, community, business and religious groups; testify before Congress and other government bodies; advise policymakers at the national, state and local level and file public comments on federal rulemakings.
PROJECT 21 LEADERSHIP
In addition to serving as chairman for Project 21, Horace Cooper is a senior fellow and member of the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy Research. He previously served as deputy director of Voice of America, chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Labor and was a senior aide to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also taught constitutional law at the George Mason University School of Law. He is the author of “How Trump is Making Black America Great Again.” He appears regularly on the Fox News Channel and talk radio shows across the nation as a legal and political commentator.
DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Project 21's Director of Membership Development Donna Jackson is also a seasoned accountant with public and private sector experience as well as previous forays into politics and ministry. She earned a Bachelor of Accountancy (cum laude) from the California State University San Marcos. She has worked in accounting, auditing and management roles with major companies such as Ernst & Young and Marriott International before serving in the public sector as a deputy controller for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Prior to her career in accounting, Donna was a political operative in the state of Arkansas where she worked on campaigns for Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Tim Hutchinson and Representative (later Governor) Asa Hutchinson. Donna is a regular op-ed contributor and frequent guest on Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN.
A Frontal Assault on Black Communities
“Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; Those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here, will be required to leave.”
BARBARA JORDAN, FEBRUARY 24, 19951
Chair, U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform 1993 - 1996
Member of Congress (D-Texas) 1973 - 1979
More than two million illegal immigrants crossed the Mexican border into the United States in 2021, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures. If trends through the first half of 2022 continue to hold, this year could well see a record number of illegal immigrants pouring into the country.2
These figures do not include the “gotaways” — migrants who eluded apprehension by U.S. Border Patrol officers and are now free to travel the country at will and face little chance of being caught, much less being deported. The Department of Homeland Security puts the monthly average of gotaways at about 55,000 during the Fiscal Year 2022, which began on Oct. 1, 2021.3
The five leading border sectors for what the government calls “migrant encounters” are the Rio Grande Valley, Del Rio, and El Paso in Texas, and Yuma and Tucson in Arizona.4 This influx of migrants, which includes thousands of unaccompanied children, has created chaotic conditions all along the 1,800-mile U.S.–Mexican border.
The sheer number of immigrants has put enormous strains on social services, school systems, health care systems, law enforcement agencies, housing markets and job markets — all of which are still recovering from the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has not hesitated to single out who benefits from, and who is responsible for, the crisis along the southern border.
“The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl,” he said in a July 7, 2022 statement.5
Once in the U.S., most illegal immigrants don’t stay in border areas for very long. Many are ushered into the country’s interior by networks of smugglers with close ties to the Mexican cartels. Still others are flown on chartered planes — often in the middle of the night — to cities throughout the country by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.6
The sheer number of immigrants has put enormous strains on social services, school systems, health care systems, law enforcement agencies, housing markets and job markets — all of which are still recovering from the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As is the case with all ills plaguing American society, illegal immigration’s most devastating consequences are borne by those least able to carry the burden.
A Long-Recognized and Unaddressed
Illegal immigration’s baneful effects on black communities were well documented long before the Biden Administration opened the southern border, leaving it largely to Mexican drug- and people-smuggling cartels to determine who enters the United States.
In 2007, a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) examined census data on immigration (legal and illegal) between 1980 and 2000.
The study, “Effects of Immigration on African-American Employment and Incarceration,” found that “black employment is more sensitive to an influx of immigration than white employment. For white men, an immigration boost of 10 percent caused their employment rate to fall just 0.7 percent; for black men, it fell 2.4 percentage points.”7
“That same immigration rise was correlated with a rise in incarceration rates,” the study added. “For white men, a 10-percent rise in immigration appeared to cause a 0.1 percentage point increase in the incarceration rate for white men. But for black men, it meant a nearly one percentage-point increase.”8
The study’s authors note that “immigration causes wages and employment to fall for black workers. When this happens, some of those workers — especially those with the lowest skills — turn to crime to increase their income.”9
While the NBER study does not differentiate between legal and illegal immigration, it covers a time when the latter was already being felt — even if the illegal immigration rates pale in comparison with today’s levels.
In an April 2008 report, “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers,” an expert panel convened by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights produced six key findings, which were presented at a Capitol Hill briefing:
- There has been a significant rise in U.S. immigration, both legal and illegal, over the past four decades. Experts the briefing testified that immigrant workers now make up one-seventh of the American workforce, and they estimated that illegal workers account for one-third of the immigrants in the U.S.
- Illegal immigration to the United States in recent decades has tended to increase the supply of low-skilled, low-waged labor available in the U.S. labor market.
- About six in ten adult black Americans have a high school diploma or less, and black men are disproportionately employed in the low-skilled labor market, where they are more likely to be in labor competition with immigrants.
- The average worker with a high school degree or less earns less today, adjusted for inflation, than someone with a similar education earned 35 years ago.
- Illegal immigration to the United States in recent decades has tended to depress both wages and employment rates for lowskilled American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are black men. Expert economic opinion concerning the negative effects range from modest to significant. Those panelists that found modest effects overall nevertheless found significant effects in industry sectors such as meatpacking and construction.
- To be sure, factors other than illegal immigration contribute to black unemployment. The problem cannot be solved without solving the problems of the high school dropout rate, high rates of family instability and low rates of employment retention. Moreover, halting illegal immigration is not a panacea even for the problem of depressed wage rates for low-skilled jobs. If upward pressure is brought to bear on low-skilled wages, increased globalization of the economy may result in some of these jobs simply being exported to other countries. Still, the effect of illegal immigration on low-skilled workers, who are disproportionately minority members, is a piece of the puzzle that must be considered by policymakers in formulating sound immigration policy.10
Unprecedented illegal immigration, encouraged by the Biden Administration’s unwillingness to enforce immigration law, has tapped federal, state and local resources well beyond sustainable levels.
In a clear sign of how the ruling political class views this issue, the Commission’s call for the adoption of “sound immigration policy” to deal with illegal immigration’s devastating effects on black communities has gone largely unheeded.
The Obama Administration, which billed itself as the guardian of minority interests, never made curbing illegal immigration a top priority. And the Biden Administration has openly encouraged the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border. Only the Trump Administration took border security seriously, and its policies have been systematically dismantled by the Biden White House.
By prioritizing the interests of those who enter the country illegally over citizens — both native-born and naturalized — the Biden Administration, for all of its talk about combatting “systemic racism,” is aggressively discriminating against black Americans.
“These foreigners are mostly decent, hardworking people. But they are taking jobs that would have otherwise gone to American workers — and black Americans are especially hurt,” Project 21 member Kathleen Wells notes. “The glut of foreign labor enables employers to hold down wages, making it harder for working-class Americans to bootstrap their way into the middle class.”11
Illegal Immigration and the
An even greater threat to black communities than cheap labor entering the country is the flood of illegal drugs the Mexican cartels are pushing across the purposely unsecured border. Of the drugs pouring into the U.S., none is more deadly than the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
“’Unnerving’ can only describe the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s disclosure earlier this month that it seized one million counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl worth $15-$20 million in a raid on a Los Angeles stash house controlled by a Mexican drug cartel,” the Washington Times reported (July 26, 2022). “The fentanyl-infused tabs are manufactured to look like genuine medications. Ominously, the DEA reports that when such pills are tested, 42% are found to contain a twomilligram dose of the powerful opioid — enough to kill… During fiscal 2021, overdose deaths totaled nearly 108,000, 70% of which were caused by opioids. And as of the CDC’s most recent tally in February, fatalities are up 11.9% this fiscal year.”12
The opioid crisis, to which fentanyl is a major contributor, was declared a national public health emergency in 2017. In a May 2020 issue brief, “The Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population: An Urgent Issue,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) noted that deaths from opioid overdoses were widespread throughout diverse populations, but were markedly higher in black communities.
“Synthetic opioids are affecting opioid death rates among non-Hispanic Blacks more severely than other populations,” HHS found. “In 2017, non-Hispanic Blacks had the highest percentage of opioid-related overdose deaths and total drug deaths attributed to synthetic opioids when compared to other race/ethnicities and the national population. Synthetic opioids accounted for nearly 70% of the opioid-related overdose deaths from non-Hispanic blacks in 2017.”13 (emphasis in the original)
HHS noted that the effects of the opioid crisis went far beyond overdose death rates.
“Three decades ago, when opioids and crack cocaine were devastating Black/African American communities, the response was ‘The War on Drugs.’ This resulted in widespread incarceration of drug users and disruption of primarily Black/African American families and communities,” the report pointed out. “The population was criminalized for drug-related offenses at much higher rates than White Americans and that has had lasting effects through the present day.”14
The HHS report was issued before the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had made their presence felt, and before the Biden Administration opened up the southern border. Both events had a profound effect on the already — spreading fentanyl crisis. In an August 2021 study, “COVID-19 Pandemic and Fentanyl Use Disorder in African Americans,” the National Center for Biotechnology (NCB) established the relationship between the crisis along the U.S. Mexican border and the deadly use of fentanyl, especially in black communities.
“The restrictions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted transit routes along the U.S./Mexican border. These disruptions have been reported to impact illegal drug markets including production, trafficking, and consumption of drugs,” the NCB noted. “Public health restriction measures were found to create a scarcity in heroin supplies. Therefore, some drug dealers have pivoted toward mixing street heroin with fentanyl drugs to stretch the supply of heroin to largely unaware opioid users. Since African Americans represent a large percentage of heroin users in the U.S., they are therefore vulnerable to the negative consequences of adulterated heroin supplies.”15
With the Biden Administration leaving the southern border to the unrestricted influx of people and drugs, drug dealers can draw on a steady supply of fentanyl to sell on the street. This enables them to spread even more addiction and death to their clientele, including users in black neighborhoods. What began as a market adjustment by drug cartels and their dealers during the height of the COVID restrictions has now been boosted by Biden’s unsecured southern border.
The availability of highly addictive drugs on the street means that users will have a constant need for more fixes and money to pay for them. Addicts, who are usually unfit to work, will turn to crime to finance their habit. Restrictions on police, coupled with the refusal of district attorneys in many large cities to incarcerate violent criminals, many of whom are drug addicts, have led to skyrocketing crime rates across the country. A disproportionate number of victims of violent crimes are blacks, who continue to see their neighborhoods ravaged by illegal drugs whose ready availability has been facilitated by Biden’s open borders.
Based on a Myth:
Sanctuary Cities and States
Disgusted with the Biden Administration’s refusal to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, and appalled by the White House’s cavalier disregard for public safety, the governors of two border states — Texas’s Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona’s Doug Ducey (R) — whose states are coping with thousands of new migrants every week, have chosen two high-profile sanctuary cities to, as the expression goes, “get what they asked for.”16
In a July 17, 2022 appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said her city was being overwhelmed by the influx of illegal immigrants, whom she referred to as “asylum seekers.” “Well, this is really a very significant issue. We have for sure called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses,” Bowser said. “We think they are largely asylum seekers whose final destination is not Washington, D.C.”17
“Local taxpayers are not picking up the tab. They are not picking up the tab. We really need a coordinated federal response,” she added.18
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) was equally unhappy.
“Currently, New York City is experiencing a marked increase in the number of asylum seekers who are arriving from Latin America and other regions. In some instances, families are arriving on buses sent by the Texas and Arizona governments, while in other cases, it appears that individuals are being sent by the federal government,” Adams said in a statement. “In order to meet both the legal mandates as a right-to-shelter city and provide high-quality services to those who enter our system, New York City needs additional federal resources immediately.”19
The irony of the mayors of two sanctuary cities complaining about the growing number of illegal immigrants in their jurisdictions should be lost on no one. A sanctuary city is defined by Dictionary.com as “a city in which the local government and police protect undocumented immigrants and refugees from deportation by federal authorities: sanctuary cities where law enforcement cannot question crime suspects about their immigration status.”20
The irony of the mayors of two sanctuary cities complaining about the growing number of illegal immigrants in their jurisdictions should be lost on no one.
There are over over 560 sanctuary cities, counties and states in the U.S. The 11 sanctuary states are California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. The American Police Officers Association refers to all of these as “jurisdictions in which federal immigration laws are obstructed and essentially violated. These locations harbor migrants who break federal immigration laws and arrive here illegally or overstay their visas.”21
The sanctuaries serve as a magnet for illegal immigrants, affording them protection from unwanted encounters with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Advocates for sanctuary cities have long argued that local law enforcement agencies should not cooperate with federal immigration authorities because doing so would cause immigrants to avoid reporting crimes out of fear of deportation. But that notion does not hold up to scrutiny.
As noted by Steven A. Camarota and Jessica M. Vaughan in National Review: (Nov. 25, 2021), “Starting in 2017, the Department of Justice added a citizenship question to its annual National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is the largest and most authoritative survey of crime victims. The 2017-2019 NCVS indicates that the whole basis for sanctuary policies is a myth. It turns out that crimes against immigrants are reported at rates that match or exceed those for crimes against the U.S.-born.”22
“With no evidence that immigrants are less likely to report crimes, the primary objection to cooperation between police and ICE appears to be invalid,” Camarota and Vaughan wrote. “However, the public safety benefits of such cooperation are real. When local officers and ICE are able to share information, criminal aliens who are causing problems can be identified and deported instead of returned to the streets. Federal immigration authorities can remove criminal aliens, even when witness intimidation is a problem, as is often with gang members, because deportation typically does not require witness testimony. None of this can happen, if police are not allowed to work with ICE.” 23
“Whatever the crime rate of immigrants as a group, it in no way justifies sanctuary policies that shield known criminal aliens from deportation, allowing them to remain in our communities.”
While available evidence shows that crime rates of immigrants both legal and illegal are not high, sanctuaries do offer a safe haven to the criminal element that is in the country illegally. “Whatever the crime rate of immigrants as a group, it in no way justifies sanctuary policies that shield known criminal aliens from deportation, allowing them to remain in our communities,” Camarota and Vaughn pointed out. “Moreover, we can say with certainty that non-citizens who are already in jail have high crime rates. Purposefully releasing them, as sanctuary jurisdictions do, even after ICE has asked that they be held until they can be picked up, is outrageous.” 24
“Despite the Biden Administration’s abandonment of nearly all interior enforcement, immigration laws are not obsolete statutes that should be ignored,” they added. “Congress had enacted limits on immigration for good reasons, including to reduce job competition for the poorest and least-educated Americans and to avoid burdening public coffers.”25
Thus, by prohibiting cooperation between local police and ICE, sanctuary cities undermine public safety and encourage employers to pay the growing pool of illegal immigrants less, knowing undocumented workers have no incentive to draw attention to themselves by complaining about their wages.
In black communities, where crime rates are well above the national average and wages for low-skilled workers are already low, it is yet another policy that makes people’s lives less safe and inhibits social mobility.
Many, if not most, of the illegal aliens pouring into the country are going to remain here. Through a future amnesty, some illegals will become legal and be on their way to obtaining citizenship. They will then legally be allowed to vote. If their numbers are large enough, they will represent a significant voter demographic. Others may not have to wait for citizenship, but will find their way on to the voter rolls as part of a larger effort by community organizers to boost the number of voters by hook or by crook.
This is what was really behind the push in Congress in 2021 to federalize elections under the guise of securing “voting rights.” A key goal of that ultimately failed effort was the elimination of a personal ID as proof that the voter was casting a legal ballot. People in the country illegally may face a problem producing a valid ID, and it is this group that would have found their way to the ballot box eased by the voter-rights legislation.
Additionally, in December 2021, the New York City Council passed a law that would have allowed over 800,000 permanent legal immigrants and people with authorization to work in the United States to vote in municipal elections. That law was struck down June 27 by a state Supreme Court justice from Staten Island who ruled that it violated the state constitution.26
No one should ever underestimate the power of the slippery slope. Had the New York City law not been struck down, the Big Apple’s voting rolls would have undergone a massive expansion, diluting the votes of citizens, including the city’s black citizens.
In the world of voting-rights advocates, going from allowing legal immigrants to vote to allowing illegal immigrants to vote is but a small step. Marginalizing black voters is of no real concern to those determined to use immigration policy to remake the face of the nation, while piously claiming to be acting in the interest of “people of color.”
Illegal Immigration and the
Illegal aliens poring across the southern border need a place to live. The surge in new residents looking for housing coincides with the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Soaring demand for rental units and a slowdown in new construction caused by supply-chain bottlenecks and higher interest rates are driving up costs for renters. As the supply of affordable housing dwindles amid a flood of illegals entering the country, the housing crisis will only deepen to the detriment of lower-income people.
Under a Biden Administrative initiative, illegal immigrants are eligible to participate in a $5 billion emergency housing voucher (EHV) program contained in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.
The program distributes housing vouchers to people experiencing homelessness, victims of human trafficking and survivors of domestic violence. Administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the program issued its first 70,000 emergency housing vouchers in the spring of 2021, which included the removal of proof of citizenship for people wanting to participate.
“HUD is consequently waiving the requirement to obtain and verify SSN [Social Security Number] documentation and documentation evidencing eligible noncitizen status before admitting the family to the EHV program,” wrote Dominique Bloom, general deputy assistant secretary for Public and Indian Housing.27
Dropping the proof-of-citizenship requirement marks a sharp departure from efforts by HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson during the Trump Administration to rid public housing units of illegal immigrants. Carson’s HUD put forth a rule that gave illegal immigrants 18 months to move out of public housing.
“HUD is consequently waiving the requirement to obtain and verify SSN [Social Security Number] documentation and documentation evidencing eligible noncitizen status before admitting the family to the EHV program.”
Dominique Bloom, general deputy assistant secretary for Public and Indian Housing
“There is an affordable-housing crisis in this country, and we need to make certain our scarce public resources help those who are legally entitled to it,” Carson explained in 2019.28 At the time, illegal immigrants took up some 32,000 public housing units, and the wait list in Los Angeles was four years; in New York City it was a staggering 10 years, the New York Post reported.29
Residential rental markets and public housing aren’t the only housing sectors affected by illegal immigration. Under U.S. law, illegal immigrants can buy homes in this country. Cross-border purchases of property (residential or commercial) are a common practice governed by more or less reciprocal real estate and tax laws in countries around the world. But the United States takes this one step further by enabling home ownership by people who are in the country illegally. This is made possible by what is known as an "ITIN mortgage."
“An ITIN is an individual tax identification number and was created as an alternative to a Social Security Number so that foreign nationals who owned businesses or property in the U.S. could pay taxes on those assets,” according to the pro-immigrant financial firm Stilt.com. “But undocumented immigrants can also acquire an ITIN and are then able to open bank accounts pay income tax — and qualify for a mortgage on a home.”30
It is easy to see how the ITIN can be exploited by bad actors. An illegal immigrant with ties to a cartel trafficking in drugs and/or people can use an ITIN to acquire a property that would then be used as a stash or safe house. Such houses are known to exist all over the country, where they serve an essential pass-through and distribution points for all things illegal.
In a time of open borders, ITIN houses owned by illegal immigrants are a major source of wealth for the cartels. They are also a significant contributor to the drug-related street crime that plagues so many black communities. Though the number of such houses is impossible to determine, the fact that their ownership is perfectly legal, even though the owners themselves are here illegally, is a testament to how broken the immigration system has become.
What We Believe
At an August 4, 2022 hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) for his assessment of the security situation along the southern border. After some hesitation, Wray acknowledged that the flow of people was “staggering.” He added that his bureau undertakes heavy efforts to deal with crimes associated with the U.S.-Mexican border.
“To me, it represents a significant security issue and represents a wide array of criminal threats that flow out of it,” Wray said.31
His evaluation directly contradicts Homeland Security Secretary Alexandro Mayorkas’s assurance from the previous month that the border was “secure.” Mayorkas’s absurd claim was made to divert attention from the administration’s lax-to-non-existent enforcement of immigration laws. In fact, such is the welcome mat the Biden White House has rolled out to migrants that it even includes funding of organizations providing services to people in the country illegally. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, awarded $171.7 million in grant money in March 2022 to the Vera Institute of Justice — a left-leaning nonprofit that, among other things, provides services to children of illegal aliens.32 Including the families of illegal immigrants in the nation’s vast social safety net will only induce even more migrants to cross the open southern border who will further overwhelm communities already struggling with the mass influx.
Administration officials are fond of using the word “transformation” when defending their policies on a wide range of issues. But the transformation which is clearly visible when it comes to illegal immigration is fostering a culture of lawlessness that permeates every segment of society.
To be sure, owing to their wealth and power, some are better shielded from the societal disruptions illegal immigration has wrought than others. But black Americans, in whose interest the ruling political class claims to champion, are being shunted aside by their would-be benefactors even though blacks are the ones who bear the heaviest burdens of illegal immigration. It is they who see the scourge of fentanyl and other drugs pouring across the border destroying their neighborhoods. It is they who see an already unfavorable job market made even more uncompetitive by the illegal influx of millions willing to work for less. It is they who see illegal immigrants further distort a housing market already buffeted by high inflation and lack of affordable inventory. And it is they who have good reason to fear that their voting strength will be diminished by new arrivals being afforded favorable treatment by the same government that is overseeing and facilitating their illegal entry into the country.
What is going on at the southern border and spreading rapidly throughout the country is not incompetence. It is part of a deliberate effort by the Biden Administration and its political allies on the left to transform the United States from a sovereign country to a transnational entity unmoored to the Constitution, the rule of law and any regard for the effects of its policies on the lives of ordinary people.
Project 21 firmly believes that today’s massive illegal immigration — if allowed to continue unchecked — will lead to a level of chaos that will cripple institutions throughout society, rendering them no longer able to serve the needs of people who have come to rely on them. Black Americans have a particular interest in restoring order and integrity to an immigration system that rewards lawbreakers and punishes the law-abiding. Change must come and come quickly. To that end, we recommend the following steps:
- Restart construction of the wall along the southern border: One of Biden’s first acts as president was “pausing” construction of President Trump’s 30-foot-high barrier on the border with Mexico. Over 450 miles of wall had been completed – some of it replacing older barriers, some of it new. Where the wall stood, it posed a significant challenge to traffickers in drugs and people, forcing them to seek out unprotected areas. A new Congress could appropriate funds for restarting construction and tie it to must-pass budget legislation. The deterioration of the southern border and its aftershocks throughout American society dates from the day construction of the wall stopped.
- End the practice of sanctuary cities: Sanctuaries — be they cities, counties or states — can no longer be justified. They provide local officials a platform for virtue-signaling their compassion while blithely ignoring the policy’s sometimes lethal consequences. There is nothing compassionate about promoting the breaking of laws. Criminal aliens know that sanctuaries provide them a place to hide, and there is little to keep them from continuing their criminal activity in the sanctuary city where they reside.
- Reform the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) system: There is a case to be made for the ITIN to cover legitimate foreign ownership of American property. There is no case to be made for extending that practice to allow illegal aliens to use an ITIN to get a mortgage. Allowing illegal immigrants to own homes in the U.S. sends the wrong signal to cartels and other transnational criminal organizations — which can use the homes for their own nefarious purposes, thereby putting nearby residents at risk.
- Make it easier to deport criminal aliens: The Biden Administration is making it increasingly difficult to deport known criminal aliens. In a case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in December, 2022, Texas and Louisiana sued the Administration over its plummeting standards for deportation.33 The White House policy appears deliberately designed to undermine public safety. With crime rates already on the rise, in black neighborhoods and elsewhere, the last thing the country needs is more known criminals on the streets.
- Cease public funding of programs serving illegal immigrants: Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed redirecting $10 million in financial aid for “undocumented students” to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He also favors pulling funding from CASA, an immigrant nonprofit advocacy organization that assists migrants in finding social services and resources that will enable them to remain in the U.S.34 His example should be followed by other elected officials. Hard-earned taxpayer money should not go to those violating immigration laws nor to advocacy groups acting on their behalf.
- Reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy: In a 5-to-4 decision handed down in June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Biden Department of Homeland Security had the power under the law to end the Trump border security program officially known as the Immigrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Under the program, some migrants caught entering the country illegally at the southern border, and who then sought asylum, were sent back to Mexico to await their hearings. In the Trump years, some 70,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico, and only around one percent of those had their asylum requests honored.35 That the Biden Administration wanted to end the program is no surprise. In its decision, however, the Court ruled that the program was optional, meaning a future administration could reinstate it. Almost all the asylum claims of migrants ensnared in the MPP were found to be bogus, and by keeping tens of thousands of migrants in Mexico, the program reduced the chaos along the border. True to form, the Biden policy shows a complete indifference to the burdens its action will place on communities already overwhelmed by the mass influx of illegals.
Civil society is a precarious and hard-won achievement — one that can, however, unravel when conditions are allowed to deteriorate to a point where enough people lose faith in their government’s ability to render sound judgments. Illegal immigration, with all the disruptions it has wrought, is prima facie evidence that Washington elites are guided by a transformative ideology completely at odds with the needs of ordinary people — and particularly black Americans.
For a complete list of participants in Project 21, please visit:
- 1 “Barbara Jordan’s Vision of Immigration Reform,” Oct. 7, 2015, Numbersusa.org, https://www.numbersusa.com/resource-article/barbara-jordans-vision-immigration-reform
- 2 “Biden is Breaking Records and Making History at the Border,” The Washington Times, July 31, 2022 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jul/31/editorial-biden-is-breaking-records-and-making-his/
- 3 Ibid.
- 4 Julian Rezendiz, “Migrant Encounters Top 2 Million in Calendar Year 2021, on Pace for Repeat in 2022,” Borderreport.com, Jan. 24, 2022 https://www.borderreport.com/immigration/migrant-encounters-top-2-million-in-calendar-year-2021-on-pace-for-repeat-in-2022/
- 5 “Governor Abbott Authorizes Texas National Guard, Texas Department of Public Safety to Return Illegal Immigrants to Border,” Press Release Office of the Governor, July 7, 2022 https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-authorizes-texas-national-guard-texas-department-of-public-safety-to-return-illegal-immigrants-to-border
- 6 Brittany Bernstein, “Psaki Confirms Illegal Immigrants Being Flown to New York in the Middle of the Night,” National Review, Oct. 19, 2021 https://www.nationalreview.com/news/psaki-confirms-illegal-immigrants-being-flown-to-new-york-in-dead-of-night/
- 7 Laurent Belsie, “Effects of Immigration on African American Employment and Incarceration,” Bureau of Economic Research, May 2007 https://www.nber.org/digest/may07/effects-immigration-african-american-employment-and-incarceration
- 8 Ibid.
- 9 Ibid.
- 10 “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers,” Briefing Report from a Briefing before the United States Commission for Civil Rights, April 4, 2008 https://www.usccr.gov/files/pubs/docs/IllegImmig_10-14-10_430pm.pdf
- 11 Kathleen Wells, “Open Borders Policies Disproportionately Harm Black Americans,” Orange County Register, April 29, 2019 https://www.ocregister.com/2019/04/29/open-borders-policies-disproportionately-hurt-black-americans/
- 12 “Fentanyl: Death by the Dose,” The Washington Times, July 25, 2022 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jul/25/editorial-fentanyl-death-by-the-dose/
- 13 “The Opioid Crisis and the Black American Population: An Urgent Issue,” United States Department of Health and Human Services, May 2020 https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/PEP20-05-02-001_508%20Final.pdf
- 14 Ibid.
- 15 Christopher A. Blackwood and Jean Lud Cadet, "COVID-19 Pandemic and Fentanyl Use Disorder in Black Americans,” National Center for Biological Information, Aug. 19, 2021 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417443/
- 16 Liz George, “NYC, DC Mayors Complain about Illegal Immigrants Bused from TX, AZ,” American Military News, July 19, 2022 https://americanmilitarynews.com/2022/07/nyc-dc-mayors-complain-about-illegal-immigrants-bused-from-tx-az/
- 17 Ibid.
- 18 Ibid.
- 19 Ibid.
- 20 “Sanctuary City,” Dictionary.com https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sanctuary-city
- 21 “Top 5 States with the Most Illegal Immigrant Sanctuaries,” American Police Officers Association, Aug. 19, 2021 https://americanpoliceofficersalliance.com/top-5-states-most-illegal-immigrant-sanctuaries/
- 22 Steven A. Camarota and Jessica M. Vaughan, “The Whole Justification for Sanctuary Cities is Wrong,” National Review, Nov. 25, 2021 https://cis.org/Oped/Whole-Justification-Sanctuary-Cities-Wrong
- 23 Ibid.
- 24 Ibid.
- 25 Ibid.
- 26 Aaron Katersky, “New York City Non-Citizen Voting Law Struck Down,” ABC News, June 27, 2022 https://abcnews.go.com/US/yorkcitys-noncitizen-voting-law-struck/story?id=85796384
- 27 Jonathan Garber, “HUD Changes Make Housing Vouchers Easier for Illegals to Obtain,” May 19, 2021, Foxbusiness.com, https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/hud-rule-changes-illegal-immigrants-housing-vouchers
- 28 Betsy McCaughey, “Public Housing for Illegal Immigrants is Transparently Unfair,” New York Post, May 21, 2019 https://nypost.com/2019/05/21/public-housing-for-illegal-immigrants-is-transparently-unfair/
- 29 Ibid.
- 30 Frank Gogol, “Can an Illegal Immigrant Buy a House?” Stilt.com, May 16, 2022 https://www.stilt.com/blog/2018/08/can-illegal-immigrants-buy-house/
- 31 Stephen Dinan, “FBI Chief Calls Border a ‘Significant Security Issue,’” The Washington Times, Aug. 4, 2022 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/4/christopher-wray-fbi-director-calls-border-signifi/
- 32 Vivek Saxena, “Leftist Group Wins $171 M Govt Contract, that Could Reach $1 B, to Assist Illegal Immigrants from Deportation,” American Wire News, July 14, 2022 https://americanwirenews.com/leftist-group-wins-171m-govt-contract-that-could-reach-1b-to-assist-illegal-immigrants-from-deportation-report/?utm_campaign=bizpac&utm_content=Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_source=Get%20Response&utm_term=EMAIL
- 33 “Texas and Louisiana Sue Biden Administration over Treatment of Immigrant Felons,” Aug. 9, 2022, Courthousenews.com, https://www.courthousenews.com/texas-and-louisiana-sue-biden-administration-over-treatment-of-immigrant-felons/
- 34 Jennie Taer, “Glenn Youngkin’s Budget Slashes Handouts to Illegal Immigrants, Advocates,” The Daily Caller, June 16, 2022 https://dailycaller.com/2022/06/16/immigration-border-youngkin-virginia/
- 35 Stephen Dinan, “Trump-Era ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy Axed,” The Washington Times, August 10, 2022 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/8/dhs-scraps-trumps-remain-mexico-after-final-court-/
Project 21 is a division of the National Center for Public Policy Research a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, D.C.
Project 21 works to promote the views of black Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility have not traditionally been echoed by the nation’s civil rights establishment.