International

Trump links unemployment among blacks to immigration

Donald Trump attends a church service, in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday. File photo  

Intensifying his efforts to reach out to the African American voters, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a “civil rights agenda for our times” that ensures safety, education, and employment to the community.

Mr. Trump addressed a gathering of largely black people at a church in Detroit, Michigan, a city that was once the hub of the American automobile industry that employed a vast number of black people. The city has been in decline as manufacturing began to shift outside of the country and turned increasingly technology-driven, reducing employment. Mr. Trump had the perfect setting to lace his message to the black people with a dose of his staple anti-immigrant, anti-globalism politics. “When I see wages falling, I know the hardship, and I am determined to do something about. And I get things done,” Mr. Trump said.

“The current policy of economic globalism violates the civil rights of American citizens by failing to protect and prioritise their jobs and wages from foreign competition,” a statement from the Trump campaign said after his speech.

Mr. Trump was greeted with protests in the city and most commentators dismissed his attempts to reach out to the African Americans as more an attempt to undo his image of being a racist among the educated white voters. In presidential elections from 1980 to 2004, Republican candidates have received between eight to 12 percent of black votes. In 2008 and 2012, when the nation’s first black president Barack Obama was the Democratic candidate, that share fell below five percent. This year, several opinion polls have recorded Mr. Trump’s support among the black voters within the historical range, but in some polls, Mr. Trump scored as little as one percent of black votes.

Declaring that he is proud to be the nominee of the party of Abraham Lincoln – the Republican president who abolished slavery in 1860s – Mr. Trump, invoked the role of African American churches in the civil rights movement and also quoted the scripture to drive home his point that all people were one in god. Mr. Trump said the political system has failed the people. “True reform can only come from outside the system, and I am an outsider,” he said. “You have been wronged historically. There are wrongs that still need to be made right, and it will be made right," he told the gathering, without offering specific policy measures. “Tomorrow will be better.”

The Trump campaign reiterated the correlation that it continuously seeks to play up, between immigration and the stress on African Americans and other vulnerable sections of the American people. The campaign's statement quoted Harvard Professor Dr. George Borjas as saying in a study: “The employment rate of African-American men—defined as the fraction of weeks worked during a calendar year by the typical black male—fell from 73.2 percent in 1960 to 64.3 percent in 2000… The data reveal a strong correlation between immigration and black wages [and] black employment rates… As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, we find a reduction in the wage of black workers in that group [and] a reduction in the employment rate.” It was in the 1960’s that the American immigration system became more liberal.

The Republican candidate also underscored the Christian heritage of America, and its role in providing hope in the current time. “Through the miracle of faith, America has lifted itself up before. Let us turn again to our Christian heritage to lift our nation up,” Mr. Trump said.


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Printable version | Oct 12, 2021 3:52:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Trump-links-unemployment-among-blacks-to-immigration/article14623295.ece

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