A group of unelected African-American leaders were invited to meet with President Barack Obama in the White House Dec. 1, but only to talk about about racist cops in Ferguson, Mo. and elsewhere in the nation.
The issue of jobs and wages for African-American men, women and youths wasn’t on the agenda, even though only half of young black men have full-time jobs in the Obama economy.
“There was no discussion in this meeting about jobs,” Marc Morial, the current president of the National Urban League, told The Daily Caller as he walked away from a press conference outside the White House.
The meeting attendees also ignored the president’s Nov. 21 decision to suspend immigration enforcement and to award roughly four million work-permits to illegal immigrants who will compete against African-Americans for jobs.
“No, there was no discussion about that,” Morial admitted.
In 2008 and 2012, more than 90 percent of African-Americans voted for Obama, and they have continually provided high support for Obama, despite the stalled economy. That steady support has left them with little or no apparent political leverage on economic issues in the White House.
In contrast, Democratic and Republican political leaders are now competing for support from the fast-growing number of Hispanic voters.
On Monday, the African-American leaders had to share Obama’s attention and the media spotlight with the top political leader of the leading Latino ethnic lobby, the National Council of La Raza. “I was really proud to be part of this very important, substantive and historic discussion,” Janet Murguia, president of La Raza, said at a press conference outside the West Wing.
“It is really important for all communities of color to be involved in this discussion,” said Murguia, who helped persuade Obama to enact the de facto amnesty for the nation’s population of 12 million illegal immigrants.
The African-American leaders also had to share the spotlight with Laura Murphy, the head of the D.C. office of the American Civil Liberties Union, plus the far-left mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, whose expensive city is slowly pushing its lower-income African-American population out and southward to Atlanta.
Al Sharpton was at the meeting, but left the press conference before he faced questions. Jesse Jackson was absent, and so was the the entire Congressional Black Caucus. The GOP’s new African-American legislators, including Sen. Tim Scott, were also absent.
Obama spoke to reporters at end of the meeting, and focused his comments on cops, not his economy.
He announced the formation of a task force to study policing practices. The group will “listen to law enforcement, and community activists and other stakeholders, but is going to report to me specifically in 90 days with concrete recommendations, including best practices for communities where law enforcement and neighborhoods are working well together,” he said.
“My expectation is concrete recommendations that we can begin to operationalize over the federal, state and local levels,” he said, even though the federal government does not control state or local police forces.
Obama’s new focus on cops comes only a few days after he announced his unpopular Nov. 21 amnesty, and after a grand jury of whites and blacks decided not to file charges against a policeman in Ferguson, Mo. who was involved in the high-profile shooting of a black man in August.
The shooting prompted riots by local residents and by reporters, who extensively covered the event in the run-up to the November election.
Some leaders have denounced the impact of the immigration on African-Americans.
“Granting work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants will devastate the black community, which is already struggling in the wake of the recession that began in 2007 and the subsequent years of malaise,” said an Oct. 27 statement by Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Currently, only 55.2 percent of African-American adults have jobs, down from 57.9 percent in July 2008. In contrast, 60.2 percent of white adults have jobs, down from 63.5 percent in July 2008.
The percentage of African-Americans with jobs is expected to drop down to 59.8 percent in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Each year, the country accepts one million immigrants and 650,000 guest workers for jobs outside agriculture.
Four million Americans — including roughly 600,000 African Americans — turn 18 each year.
The large inflow of immigrants is unpopular. A September poll by the GOP caucus in the Senate showed that only 19 percent of African-Americans strongly supported Obama’s immigration policies. The same poll showed that 33 percent of African-Americans would be “much more likely” to support a GOP Senate candidate who says that “immigration policy needs to serve the interests of the nation as a whole, not a few billionaire CEOs and immigration activists lobbying for open borders.”
Under pressure from base voters, GOP legislators are meeting Tuesday to decide if they will defund Obama’s amnesty.
In his 2006 book, Obama also denounced the impact of mass-immigration. “The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama wrote in “The Audacity of Hope.”
“If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole — especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan — it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net,” he wrote.
But Obama also called for a political alliance of African-Americans and Latinos.
Other African-Americans have lamented the impact of the Obama economy on blacks. “The data is going to indicate sadly that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category,” Tavis Smiley, an African-America journalist, said in a Fox News interview in October 2013.
“On that regard, the president ought to be held responsible,” he said.
Morial and other leaders insisted the task force would have to deal with poverty in African-American communities.
“Let me say from my perspective that dealing with the economic opportunity issues I think is going to be — if not on the agenda of the task force — certainly remains present,” Morial told TheDC.
“Today’s meeting, I think, is just the beginning of a number of steps we’re going to hope are going to address the [economic] issues,” Morial said.
Morial’s group is part of the Democratic establishment, and has announced its support for Obama’s amnesty.
“Let me clarify,” he told TheDC. “The president’s executive action brings in no new workers, [so] the folks who are covered by the executive action are in the country,” he said
The group’s website does not highlight its support for the amnesty.