Black Lawmakers Accuse GOP of "Manufacturing Tension" Between African Americans and Immigrants

The fallout from the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy Enforcement Committee hearing "Making Immigration Work For Minorities," continues today.

Some Black lawmakers have expressed frustration that the Republican controlled committee is trying to "manufacture tension" between Hispanics and African Americans.

Suzanne Gamboa of the Associated Press has the full story up HERE, with quotes from law makers below:

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus: criticized the hearing's premise in a statement. Several other Democratic lawmakers echoed that argument, saying Republicans were ignoring their lack of support for job training, affirmative action, college financial aid and other programs more critical to employment of minorities.

"I am concerned by the majority's attempt to manufacture tension between African-Americans and immigrant communities. It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of 'us versus them,' and I reject that notion," Cleaver said in his statement.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a warning at the start of the hearing against any attempts to pit blacks against Latino immigrants, a notion that he said he found "so abhorrent and repulsive."

The article also notes the political calculations by the GOP in putting on this hearing:

The GOP has been trying to balance its immigration enforcement agenda with its need for greater Hispanic voter support to win the White House in 2012. Republicans hoped to show some minorities support deporting immigrants and oppose granting legal status to those who are in the country illegally.

But not all of the minorities present were willing to play ball, Wade Henderson, chairman and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights noted that there were far more problems facing the African American community in regards to employment than undocumented immigrants:

Henderson said high unemployment among blacks has a wide variety of causes. Unemployment rates for more than 50 years have been almost double what they are for white Americans, he said, even as the population of foreign-born people in the U.S. has increased.

Denial of equal opportunity in education, criminal justice, housing and jobs "continues to contribute more directly to the high unemployment rate that African-Americans endure and not the issue of illegal immigration as has been cited by virtue of this hearing," Henderson said.