Will Immigration Reform Hurt African-Americans?

Seeing Red AZ questions the Democratic coalition:

[W]hy would black American citizens, who have disproportionately high rates of unemployment both locally and nationally, be among those encouraging more illegals to be given legal status — allowing them to compete for jobs these citizens need and should have? … The Business Insider reported that while the overall employment rate remains weak, job reports show that minorities are still getting hit much harder by the job crisis — with African Americans suffering the highest unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate for black Americans jumped to 14.0 percent last month, from 13.2 percent the previous month. Hispanic unemployment was unchanged at 11 percent,while 184,000 more black Americans went jobless.

Mark Krikorian recently made a similar point:

Mass immigration isn’t the only cause of the deep employment problems of less-skilled black workers. It’s not even the main cause. But it’s the easiest one to remedy.

Such conclusions are bolstered by a 2006 paper [pdf] by George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon Hanson for the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.

A reader chimes in:

Regardless of how illegal immigration may help the 1% and even the 20%, you better hope the research on this is wrong, else we’re potentially setting up the irony of the first African-American president passing the single most harmful piece of legislation to African-Americans in 25 years.

Previous Dish on the economic benefits of immigration reform here and here.