- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

Blacks in the region are joining Minuteman militia groups opposed to illegal Hispanic aliens working in the United States, saying they take jobs from blacks and piggyback off the strides made during the civil rights movement.

Several blacks Friday attended a Minuteman rally in the District. And yesterday, Ted Hayes, a black Los Angeles-based homeless activist and founder of the Crispus Attucks Brigade, held a rally in Upper Senate Park denouncing attempts by immigrant rights groups to link their movement to that of black civil rights.

“Illegal immigration is the greatest threat to black people since slavery,” Mr. Hayes said. “The civil rights movement was made by black citizens of this country, but [illegal aliens] are claiming civil rights as a key to cross the American border illegally.”

He and several area blacks at the rallies said losing jobs is their biggest concern.

Mr. Hayes said illegal aliens are accepting “slave wages” after decades of blacks’ not allowing employers to pay them less than minimum wage.

Northwest resident Mae Bruce, 68, said her biggest concerns are illegal aliens’ “flooding” historically black neighborhoods without assimilating and taking advantage of overburdened government resources such as public education and health care.

Sylvia Thomas, a black woman living in Alexandria, recently said she plans to join a local Minuteman chapter.

“If I’m going to be held to abiding by the law, they should be, too,” she said. “I don’t like my tax money going to people who are living here illegally.”

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that about 80 percent of blacks have a favorable view of Hispanic immigrants’ work ethic and family values. The survey also shows that 33 percent of blacks are less likely to suggest deportation of illegals aliens, compared with 59 percent of whites.

However, the survey indicates that about half of blacks in the region see immigrants as a burden because they take jobs and housing. More than 50 percent of blacks in the region and more than 75 percent nationwide say increased immigration has led to difficulties in finding a job, compared with 50 percent of whites nationwide and 20 percent in the region who say the same.

The survey stated 22 percent of blacks and 14 percent of whites said they or a relative had lost a job to an immigrant.

Northwest resident Daisy Williams, 54, said she can find only telemarketing jobs, despite having years of clerical experience. She also said blacks are the first to go during layoffs and are “being pushed out of the entire picture.”

“Go to any construction site, and there are very few African-Americans,” Mrs. Williams said. “Everyone you see is Hispanics [and] it’s all over this region. … The American dream is becoming the American nightmare.”

But Mychal Massie, a board member of Project 21, a District-based black conservative think tank, said that stance suggests that all blacks work low-wage jobs and are incapable of aiming higher.

“It’s an affront and an insult to suggest these jobs disproportionately hurt blacks because … it plays into a [scenario] of lowered expectations,” he said.

V. Nenaji Jackson, who teaches political science at Howard University, said it also pits blacks against Hispanics, rendering both groups powerless by infighting.

“What we need to do is band together in struggle and create a new reality for ourselves,” she said.

However, blacks at the rally Friday said they held a belief similar to that of Mrs. Bruce. They don’t want to join with Hispanics because they feel snubbed by those who open shops and move into their neighborhoods.

Cameron Bonner, a Brigade member who mentors black at-risk youth in the South-Central neighborhood of Los Angeles, said tension there between blacks and Hispanics has exploded into violence in schools and jails.

“We have no opportunity to provide services [to blacks] when the first people who get in line are people who don’t belong here,” said Mr. Bonner, 40. “Come here legally and you can get in line and get anything you want. But when you come here with the direct desire to take from me … we have a problem.”

Brigade members have also branded supporters of the immigrant movement such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and black leaders the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as “sellouts” who are “leading blacks in a circle.”

Mr. Hayes predicted their imminent overthrow.

“They do not own civil rights,” he said. “They don’t speak for us. They haven’t talked to us, the black people, about their civil rights. These are not our leaders. We’ve had 40 years of Jesse Jackson, and enough is enough. This will be his undoing.”

Organizers blamed the small turnout at yesterday’s rally on the Mother’s Day holiday and dreary weather.

The Crispus Attucks Brigade — named after Crispus Attucks, a black man and the first casualty of the American Revolution — plans to hold rallies nationwide to raise black awareness of illegal immigration, said co-founder James Spencer.

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