This January will be a fascinating month in the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s descendants. With the new award-winning film Selma expanding into theaters across the country and, of course, his birthday being celebrated on a national level, King has never been more “alive” in the American narrative since his tragic death in 1968. With all this newfound relevancy and attention, the more conservative wing of America has found the perfect spokesman for its anti-illegal immigration: Martin Luther King Jr.
Using dead “celebrities” to sell products such as vacuum cleaners and iPods has been the new norm the past few years. I wonder if Jim Henson really thought he and Kermit would become Apple’s spokesmen? But to use King’s image and words to go against immigration seems like an odd and insensitive choice at first, until you realize that King’s dream might be deferred if President Barack Obama has undocumented workers take positions from a black community that needs jobs and a chance to build a better future.
According to the Washington Examiner the anti-illegal immigration ad asks, “Was that Dr. King’s dream?” Produced by Californians for Population Stabilization, which launches this month on cable news networks for King’s birthday, the ad uses King’s words against thepresident, criticizing Obama for not putting the African-American job situation above the issues facing Mexican families in America.
During the commercial, the announcer asks how King “would feel about 19 percent of African-Americans unemployed or underemployed? About giving amnesty and work permits to 4 million illegal aliens with so many Americans jobless? About admitting 1 million more immigrant workers in 2015 when 13 percent of Hispanic Americans are having trouble finding work? About Americans of all races not seeing a real wage increase in decades?”
Obviously, the ad is not just about African-Americans, but using King’s civil rights words as the catalyst for its cause, the group Californians for Population Stabilization is seeing this as a civil rights issue.
And while the knee-jerk reaction might be to cry foul, what if the ad is right? What if this immigration policy Obama wants will hurt black and minority Americans most of all? In fact, it was Corretta Scott King, King’s wife, who worried about this issue back in 1991. She wrote this letter to Utah’s Orrin Hatch concerning dropping sanctions on employers hiring illegal immigrants:
“America does not have a labor shortage. With roughly 7 million people unemployed, and double that number discouraged from seeking work, the removal of employer sanctions threatens to add additional U.S. workers to the rolls of the unemployed.
“Additionally, it would add competition for scarce jobs and drive down wages. Moreover, the repeal of employer sanctions (against hiring illegals) will inevitably add to our social problems and place an unfair burden on the poor in the cities in which most new immigrants cluster — cities which are already suffering housing shortages and insufficient human needs.”
Based on the previous statement, Californians for Population Stabilization see this letter as the smoking gun to use Dr. King as their poster boy for anti-illegal immigration.
Joe Guzzardi, a spokesman for the group, said, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. promoted equal treatment for all Americans. But President Obama is putting the interests of immigrant workers ahead of American workers who want jobs. The president’s policies are disproportionately harming the most vulnerable American workers who, more often than not, are minority Americans. Maybe the president and those in Congress pushing for more immigrant workers have lost sight of Dr. King’s dream?”
Interestingly enough, many see the anti-immigration group as a bunch of white, middle-class Tea Party members, but many forget that minorities in this country will be hurt more by Obama’s policy than middle-class whites. An inner-city kid trying to find a minimum-wage job will have more incoming future citizens from Mexico vying for that position than white kids going to college on their parents’ dime.
King’s dream was to see a country united. Obama is not doing that with his current immigration plan. It seems that, in some way, Obama has changed the dream and lost the dreamers in the process.