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Coretta Scott King in 1991: Hold Employers Accountable for Hiring Illegal Aliens


May 11, 2013
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by Matthew Boyle
28 Aug 2013

Pro-amnesty activists trying to co-opt the civil rights messages of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to push immigration reform through Congress seem to be directly contradicting the wishes of the late Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Mrs. King carried on her husband's civil rights activism after he was assassinated.

In a 1991 letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Coretta Scott King and other black community leaders argued that illegal immigration would have a devastating impact on the black community. At the time, Hatch was working his U.S. Senate position to undo some enforcement measures laid out in Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty agreement, attempting to weaken interior enforcement and sanctions against employers who hired illegal aliens.

We, the undersigned members of the Black Leadership Forum, write to urge you to postpone introduction of your employer sanctions repeal legislation until we have had an opportunity to report to you what we believe to be the devastating impact the repeal would have on the economic condition of un- and semi-skilled workers—a disproportionate number of whom are African-American and Hispanic; and until we have had the opportunity to propose to you and to our Hispanic brothers and sisters, what we believe could be a number of effective means of eliminating the discrimination occasioned by employer sanctions, without losing the protection sanctions provide for U.S. workers, especially minority workers.

While the members of the Black Leadership Forum wrote they had “divergent views” at the time on the employer sanctions regarding illegal immigration, they wrote they were “united in three respects.”

First, they wrote they were united in being “fully committed to the elimination of the root causes of national origin discrimination under the Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) [Reagan’s amnesty], as well as discriminatory impact.”

Second, they said they stood together in their belief that “there are a number of effective ways to remedy discrimination resulting from IRCA, without tampering with employer sanctions. Some measures we support are contained in the Report and Recommendations of the Taskforce on IRCA-Related Discimination and in the 1990 GAO Report on Immigration Reform: Employer Sanctions and Question of Discrimination.”

Third, the writers said they were unanimous in their request for a discussion with Hatch and other members of Congress on “the importance of employer sanctions to the economic security of African Americans and Hispanic workers.”

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Should Mr. Obama read the letter from Mrs. King and abide by her logic? Surely the Black Caucus, NAACP, Barack Obama and all those benevolent Progressive Democrats should reconsider Mrs. King's letter and follow through.
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