- - Friday, August 8, 2014

Recently, the D.C. Republican Party held a fundraiser for its nominee in the upcoming election for D.C. Council chairman. The GOP choice, Kris Hammond, is a 10-year veteran with the Department of Justice. Mr. Hammond lists on his campaign site regulatory reform, corruption and school vouchers as the central issues that will lift the chronically underperforming party’s standing among the city’s largely black population.

Polls show that only 8 percent of non-whites in D.C. identify as Republicans. What Mr. Hammond and D.C. Republicans would be remiss not to add to their platform is illegal immigration, an issue that’s probably hurt D.C. just as much as it has harmed the country’s border cities.

Despite the District’s massive economic growth, almost 40 percent of its young black residents are unemployed. Hope for this demographic will continue to diminish should there be amnesty for the untold numbers in and around the District that work under the table or with stolen Social Security numbers. Also, if amnesty is pushed through, black D.C. residents working low-skilled jobs will see their wages stagnate or shrink.

According to studies cited by Leah Durant, the head of both the Black American Leadership Alliance and the Progressives for Immigration Reform, a D.C. native and another Justice veteran, immigration between 1980 and 2000 “reduced the weekly wages of all native workers [countrywide] by 4 percent, with even higher wage reductions for high school dropouts, black and Hispanic workers, and younger workers.” According to another study Ms. Durant cites, “a 1 percentage point increase in a state’s labor force caused by immigration results in a 1.2 percentage point decline in the employment rate of 16-24 year olds, and a decline of twice that amount among younger African Americans.”

Opening areas of the labor market previously occupied by illegal aliens will give D.C.’s black youth a big boost up the economic ladder. Someone should tell the marginal but ambitious D.C. Republicans that nothing could be more bipartisan, sensible and popular than helping the tens of thousands of unemployed black citizens of our nation’s capital find good jobs with living wages.

IAN SMITH

Washington