President Obama plans to legalize millions of illegal immigrants by granting refugee status to people coming to the U.S. unlawfully from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador even though they shouldn’t qualify, according to a prominent black conservative, who warns that the president’s strategy will have a devastating impact on workers in the black community.
“It’s been leaking out for quite a while and they’ve already announced their plans in terms of numbers of refugees they’re allowing in, even though they’re already over that number,” said Joe Hicks, co-founder of Community Advocates Inc., a Los Angeles-based think tank. He is also a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network.
According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service within the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. law defines a refugee as someone “located outside the United States,” has “special humanitarian concern,” “demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear prosecution” and “is admissible to the United States.” Hicks said people from Latin America may be in dire straits but don’t meet that criteria, and Obama’s efforts to unilaterally change the criteria “turns the whole notion of refugee on its head.
“Prior to Obama, the notion of a refugee was someone who was fleeing war or some similar kind of circumstance in their home countries. No doubt, there are very bad conditions in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as it is in Mexico and in much of central and South America,” he said.
“But as long as I can remember … those nations were experiencing poverty and violence, but not from wars,” Hicks noted. “These are endemic to those nations’ cultures. So to claim that this is some new rationale to allow these immigrants to stay in the country based on a refugee status makes no sense because those nations have always had conditions of poverty and gang activity.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Joe Hicks:
If Obama were to go through with designating millions of illegal immigrants as refugees, they could well be on the path to citizenship. Hicks argued against blanket amnesty for an an entire nation or region of the world.
“There is no automatic right to come to this country as a refugee. We have to make the determination. The government and the proper authorities have to look at all of these cases and determine if, or if they do not, measure up to prior standards, which have normally been held almost as international standards of what a refugee is,” said Hicks, who argues the flood of young people illegally crossing the border came prepared to appeal for refugee status.
“These kids coming across the border (are) virtually reading from a script to border agents because they know the proper language to use. ‘We’re fleeing poverty and violence.’ Those were the two words they would routinely use,” he explained. “They’ve been put in detention and in some cases resettled all across the country. So it really does make a mockery out of the process.”
Hicks also studies the impact that the cheap labor provided by these illegal immigrants will have on the U.S. economy. He said young and low-skilled black workers are already hardest hit in this economy, and Obama’s plan would make things far worse.
“Black low-skilled workers and black workers in general continue to be affected by the recession. They suffered longer and deeper under this recession. Their unemployment numbers are still above the norm by a fairly disproportionate level,” said Hicks, arguing that illegals already have a leg up on American citizens on the job front.
“There are parts of this country where you can go into fast-food restaurants where there is a high percentage of Latino illegal labor available. You simply cannot find a black kid working in a fast-food restaurant,” he said. “Go on a construction site in many parts of this country. You can’t find black workers working at those sites because Latino workers have simply depressed the wages.”
Hicks said Obama granting refugee status to millions who shouldn’t qualify for it will only lead to more frustration among black workers.
“Yes, they will be harmed,” he said. “Project 21’s view is that will not be something that most black workers welcome if five to 15 million new illegal aliens are made legal by the stroke of the pen by this president.”
Only 31 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the immigration issue. Some think he’s going much too far while others are frustrated he’s not moving faster or being aggressive enough. The number is not likely to get any better as Obama delays his executive action.
But Hicks said the president’s lack of action should not be interpreted as Obama being rudderless on the issue.
“I don’t think he’s confused,” he said. “I think he knows exactly what he’s trying to do, and he’s doing it for political reasoning. I think a lot of Americans will be outraged that he didn’t simply bring his argument before the people, in this case before Congress, and make his best case to try to get Congress to act. Presidents are not like a child. You don’t always get everything you want.”