American Citizens Are Relegated to the Back of the Line for Jobs

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 08:10 AM

By Neal Asbury

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When it comes to President Barack Obama, I have always maintained his race has never been a factor in the rejection of his policies.

The color of one’s skin shouldn't matter in this country.

Yet, as our first black president, it appears he has turned his back on America’s black labor force.

The black unemployment rate stands at more than 20 percent, and has been at that level for a long time. The unemployment rate for black youth is astronomical.

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Yet, now as part of Obama’s immigration policy, he has indicated at the minimum he will double the number of green cards issued, which will allow unskilled immigrants to directly compete with black workers — and most of them are U.S. citizens.

It also appears that while the Obama administration doesn’t use the word “amnesty,” they are essentially indicating that they will grant a safe harbor for work permits for illegal immigrants.

That sounds like amnesty to me.

Derrick Green, Project 21 National Speakers Bureau, appearing on my radio show "Made in America," estimated that there are 7.1 million blacks with a high school diploma or less, who will be in direct competition with these illegal immigrants. This will further push blacks into poverty and reduce the opportunities for full-time employment.

Ironically, what this means is that the very people who voted for Obama, will be the most hurt by his immigration policies.

This raises serious questions about the rights of U.S. citizens, no matter what their color.

When did it become a disadvantage to be a naturalized U.S. citizen?

The U.S. civil rights policies of the 1960s would have you believe that there would be no discrepancy between black and white job candidates. But there was, and is. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the black unemployment rate is currently 2.2 times higher than the white unemployment rate, a bigger discrepancy than at any point since 2007.

One of the real issues in this country impacting black employment is the percentage of blacks with police records, which is a huge impediment toward passing employment screening.

In fact, blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites. And when they are paroled, they don’t get amnesty. Their arrest record follows them through life.

The recent events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, is a reflection of the pent-up rage over a standard of living that continues to erode within the black community. And the police response is indicative of the challenges blacks face each day.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that according to FBI statistics, over the past 20 years authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, translating to 77.7 million individuals on file in its master criminal database. Intuitively, you know that majority of these criminals are black.

A good place to start to put blacks at the head of the employment line is to fix our criminal justice system so that blacks convicted of minor crimes are not punished forever. There must be a way for them to apply for jobs without bias.

Then, as mentioned above, naturalized black job candidates should be the first selected, ahead of immigrants who entered this country illegally. It’s the right thing to do. Black workers who are citizens deserve this simple consideration.

Blacks also must set their expectations beyond low-paying, part-time jobs. These cannot sustain a family, even at a minimum wage.

Let’s allow blacks to get special considerations for job training and trade schools. They will not only land good paying full-time jobs, but become role models for other blacks in their community.

There ought to be a benefit for people born or naturalized in this country who have lived here for generations. We need to break the cycle of high unemployment and hopelessness in the black community. They deserve to be at the front of the line for jobs.

The journalist and author Carl T. Rowan said it best: “It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.”

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