NOW from #ESSENCEfest: The immigration debate and the black community

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On Friday’s Now with Alex Wagner, coming from the Essence Festival in New Orleans, Alex and her panel discussed the politics of immigration reform, and its unique ramifications for the 400,000 black, undocumented immigrants living in America. The July issue of Essence features an interview with one such immigrant, documenting her uncertainty and fear, and giving voice to a group often overlooked in the debate over immigration reform. She writes:

I’m grateful for Latinos who have passionately fought for immigration rights, but the media’s constant focus on borders and speaking English makes immigration reform just about Latinos. I’m saying, what about us? I’ve spent the better part of my adult life here. Most of my contributions to this world have been to this country. I just want people to realize that Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean have lots to offer this country, too.”


With unemployment holding steady at 7.6%, and disproportionately affecting the black community, Alex argues that immigration reform is exactly the sort of policy that could boost the anemic job growth seen in this recovery. To this point, she refers to a CBO report that found business ownership among immigrants to actually be higher than that of native-born Americans. How can a party that claims to be for small business and fiscal responsibility oppose a measure that is widely believed to be a boost for the economy and job creation? Watch the discussion below:

ESSENCE Festival

NOW from #ESSENCEfest: The immigration debate and the black community

Updated