Stop Blaming Immigrants for American Unemployment

Target: Roy Beck, President of Numbers USA

Goal: Tell anti-immigration group to stop encouraging Americans to blame their economic problems on immigrants

The anti-immigrant group, Numbers USA, recently aired an ad that blames the high unemployment rate in African-American communities on the increasing number of immigrant workers. The ad then accuses government officials of thinking African Americans do not want to work, and urges the government to stop immigration in order to solve the problem of American unemployment.

This divisive ad pits people of color against each other to conceal the true reasons for the economic problems in the United States. Tell Numbers USA to stop blaming the unemployment rates on immigrants and trying to turn minority groups against each other, instead of focusing on the real causes of economic disparities.

Although the high unemployment rates in African-American communities cannot be disputed, the number of immigrants entering the country is unrelated. The problems are caused by racism in the hiring process and a lack of access to education and job training in certain areas. Immigration, however, tends to benefit the economy. Granting undocumented workers citizenship would lead to those citizens acquiring higher education, making more money, and eventually paying more taxes.

Motivating minority groups to compete with each other keeps them powerless and prevents them from questioning the dominant group that benefits from their compliance. As long as people of color are convinced to blame each other for their economic problems, the dominant group can continue to dominate without being questioned or blamed.

If everyone were to work together, an economy with fair wages and better working conditions could be created, but ads such as these convince people to view each other as the enemy so that they will never be able to change the situation. Numbers USA’s new ad encourages unemployed Americans to blame immigrants for their economic problems, and claims that immigration negatively affects African Americans more than other groups.

This simplifies the issue, ignoring the facts of institutional racism and access to education. The ad attempts to create a war between people of color to prevent them from coming together to build a more equitable economy. Numbers USA must stop blaming Americans’ economic problems on immigrants and stop trying to convince African Americans to misplace the blame.


Dear Roy Beck,

Your organization recently aired an ad that pinpoints immigrants as the cause of the high unemployment rates for Americans, particularly Americans of color. The ad then claims that it is racism on the part of the government that prevents them from stopping immigration, and that government officials think African Americans do not want to work.

The ad may be correct in assuming that the institution of government perpetuates racism and allows discrimination to continue, but blaming immigrants for disparities in unemployment rates only distracts from the real economic problems and gives Americans false information about the reasons for their struggles.

In an attempt to keep people of color divided instead of working together to change their economic situations, this ad pits African Americans against immigrants instead of allowing both groups to see the true causes of inequality. I am asking that your organization stop encouraging minority groups to compete against each other and stop lying to Americans about the consequences of immigration.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: paulinaclemente via Flickr.

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One Comment

  1. As within the Indian caste system, immigrants end up doing the undesirable and hazardous jobs that we refuse to or will not do.

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