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A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigrants on African Americans

by Gerald D. Jaynes, Yale University

WASHINGTON – Anti-immigrant groups have repeatedly tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants by capitalizing on the myth that immigrants take American jobs—particularly jobs that would otherwise go to African Americans.

That myth, as anti-immigrant groups present it, is simply not true, says Gerald Jaynes, a professor of Economics and African American Studies at Yale University.

In a new Perspectives piece for the Immigration Policy Center, A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigration on African Americans, Jaynes dispels the myth that immigrants take “black jobs” and instead suggests we find solutions on how to lift up all low-wage American workers.

In his plainspoken narrative, Jaynes cites statistical analysis on the effect of immigration on wages and native-born employment and finds the effects to be “relatively small and secondary to other causes of low wages and employment.” He also points out that immigration as a whole is a net benefit to the U.S. economy.

The Immigration Policy Center’s Perspectives on Immigration are narrative thought pieces written by leading academics and researchers who bring a wide range of multi-disciplinary knowledge to the issue of immigration policy.

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