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'Effective Amnesty' for illegal immigrants will mean fewer jobs for African-Americans, two advocates warn

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Two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to President Obama on Tuesday telling him that if he succeeds in enacting an “effective amnesty” for illegal immigrants, it will likely mean fewer jobs and lower pay for black Americans.

Pointing to hearings the commission held in 2008, the two members — Peter Kirsanow and Abigail Thernstrom — said the economics of the situation are clear: Low-skilled blacks compete with low-skilled illegal immigrants, depressing wages.

“The briefing witnesses, well-regarded scholars from leading universities and independent groups, were ideologically diverse. All the witnesses acknowledged that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both in terms of employment opportunities and wages,” the commissioners said.

They said legalizing those workers doesn’t remove the competition, but does erase one competitive advantage legal residents have, which is that they can clear E-Verify, the voluntary system that allows employers to check to make sure their employees are authorized to work.

“This levels the playing field a bit for African-Americans. If illegal immigrants are granted legal status, this small advantage disappears,” the commissioners said.

Mr. Kirsanow and Ms. Thernstrom are both Republican presidential appointees to the eight-member board.

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