On May 1, 2013, Lake Research Partners released its recent polling results on attitudes toward immigration among African Americans and found that 70% of Black voters support a proposal that includes a roadmap to citizenship.
With immigration reform, the African American civil rights and non-citizen human rights struggles intertwine, and the visions of what America can become once it lovingly embraces the people that strive every day to make this country flourish become closely aligned.
And this union just makes sense.
Not long ago, Blacks endured the indignity of being denied full access to citizenship. Under the oppressive laws of Jim Crow segregation, African Americans lived a life recognized as being merely ¾ of a man. Blacks were denied the right to the ballot box, having no voice to run for office, or elect candidates seeking solutions to meet their daily challenges and needs. Living wage jobs were reserved strictly for White men leaving Blacks to scramble and compete for scraps found in low-wage, service industries.
African Americans were pushed into the margins of society, left to feel as if their strides and contributions were insignificant to our country’s success story. A sentiment shared widely among those fighting for immigration reform.
The report debunks the myth that African Americans feel threatened by immigrants through competing employment interests. It instead shows that most Blacks (61%) do not believe that immigrants are not taking away jobs, nor do African Americans believe that immigrants are driving down wages. The fact is: most African Americans have positive attitudes toward immigrants.
“African Americans have led the way in terms of seeing shared fate and shared values—over three-quarters agree that immigrants get exploited by corporations and businesses like other low-wage workers do. More than 7 in 10 believe that immigrants contribute to our economy, communities, and culture.”
At the height of the civil rights movement, the great social justice leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught the world that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Blacks understand the fear of having no protection under the law, and remember the bitter pain of having families separated by unfair government intrusion– issues that run rampant in immigrant families facing deportation and unjust detention.
Both African Americans and undocumented workers throughout this country know how crucial it is to create meaningful legislation of inclusion to attract the talent of individuals committed to moving America forward. Both know just how fiercely the fire for justice burns. It reasonably follows that African Americans should stand in strong solidarity with immigration reformers.
 Leadership Conference Polling Memo, African Americans and Immigration Reform, Lake Research Partners, May 1, 2013.