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Press Release
Researchers find link between Latino employment and black urban violence
Monday, April 12, 2010

(Photo: blumik/STOCK.XCHNG)
LSU Sociology Professor Edward Shihadeh and Ph.D. candidate Raymond Barranco have published a study titled "Latino Employment and Black Violence: The Unintended Consequence of U.S. Immigration Policy," in the March 2010 issue of Social Forces, the field's preeminent journal.

The study confirms that Latino immigration and dominance of low skill jobs have displaced blacks from low-skill labor markets, which in turn led to more violence in urban black communities. According to their analysis, this is traceable to U.S. immigration policies over the last several decades.

Before the United States/Mexico border was militarized, Latino immigration was a two-way trip; immigrants, mainly from Central America, moved to the United States temporarily to finance a project in their home country. But in response to U.S. public pressure, border security was intensified. Tall fences were built, cameras installed and the border was patrolled relentlessly by well-armed guards. As a result, Latino immigrants in the United States stopped returning home for fear that they could not repeat the trip. This increased the number of Latino workers in the United States competing for jobs in agriculture, manufacturing and construction. Blacks lost that competition in many cities, and where that occurred, murder rates went up.

"This is an unintended but significant result of immigration policies," said Shihadeh, lead author on the project. "This is not a blame game. We do not advocate restricting the flow of Latino migrants in either direction. This is what triggered the flow of events in the first place. There is no reason to deprive this country of the rich contributions made by Latinos. Our study simply describes how immigration policy opened a new chapter in the history of the U.S. labor market and how that harmed black communities."

Sociological theory has linked black urban decline to poverty, the loss of manufacturing jobs and racial segregation. This study introduces another factor in the dense cluster of black disadvantage – immigration policy, which inadvertently flooded low skill markets with Latino labor, displaced blacks and, as a result, raised the rates of black murder.

"Blacks and Latinos both feel singled out and put upon. But few will address these issues because they're politically explosive," said Shihadeh. "The public mood makes this subject a live wire." Nonetheless, both researchers hope their work will fuel important discussions.


Louisiana State University:

Thanks to Louisiana State University for this article.

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Guest Comment
Tue, Apr 13, 2010, 7:58 pm CDT
Shihadeh says: "We do not advocate restricting the flow of Latino migrants in either direction."

So he thinks the laws should be changed then? So anyone can come to the US and just a take a job? Is everyone in the world qualified in that case or only those from Latin America? Where would the line be drawn?

Guest Comment
Tue, Apr 13, 2010, 11:09 pm CDT
"border security was intensified. Tall fences were built, cameras installed and the border was patrolled relentlessly by well-armed guards."

Are you kidding me? There is no one there, anyone can just walk right in. They can fly in and overstay visas. They can come and go as they please, but they stay here because Mexico stinks. But the more Mexicans that come here, the more it will look like Mexico. Then where will they go?

Guest Comment
Thu, Apr 15, 2010, 11:39 pm CDT
Immigrants, Immigrants! People forget that immigrants have children and family. The are not just tidy units of labor. In fact, many of their children will follow many of the worst habits of American blacks - welfare use, teen pregnancy, violence and crime, gang activity, poor school performance. Junk food diet and lots of TV. They will speak the same slang, copy the same styles of dress, enjoy gangster rap music maybe with an hispanic influence. They may grown up with no primary language: neither English nor Spanish, just a poor version of both.

Guest Comment
Sun, Apr 25, 2010, 12:26 am CDT
I do not agree for one second that immigrants from Central America ever intended to go home after they earned some cash. If they replaced blacks in some low job market, it would have happened anyway and immigration policy had nothing to do with it!
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