Tuesday, February 22, 2005

African Immigration at all Time High

The US is drawing more immigrants from Africa today than at the height of the slave trade [registration required].
Since 1990, according to immigration figures, more have arrived voluntarily than the total who disembarked in chains before the United States outlawed international slave trafficking in 1807. More have been coming here annually - about 50,000 legal immigrants - than in any of the peak years of the middle passage across the Atlantic, and more have migrated here from Africa since 1990 than in nearly the entire preceding two centuries.

New York State draws the most; Nigeria and Ghana are among the top 20 sources of immigrants to New York City. But many have moved to metropolitan Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Houston. Pockets of refugees, especially Somalis, have found havens in Minnesota, Maine and Oregon.
Of course, today's African immigrants come to the US willingly and not in chains. Most come to the US seeking financial opportunities, and like many other immigrant groups send money home - more than $1 billion annually, according to the Times, which naturally appends a leftist spin to the figure.
'Basically, people are coming to reclaim the wealth that's been taken from their countries,' said Howard Dodson, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, which has just inaugurated an exhibition, Web site and book, titled 'In Motion,' to commemorate the African diaspora.
The demographic effects of mass immigration from Africa insofar as they further fracture US society do not interest the Times, except where they affect traditional racial politics.
To many Americans, the most visible signs of the movement are the proliferation of African churches, mosques, hair-braiding salons, street vendors and supermarket deliverymen, the controversy over female genital mutilation and the election last year of Barack Obama, son of a native Kenyan, to the United States Senate from Illinois. Especially in New York City, the shooting deaths of two unarmed African immigrants, Amadou Diallo from Guinea in 1999 and Ousmane Zongo from Burkina Faso in 2003, come to mind.


Sylviane A. Diouf, a historian and researcher at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center and Dr. Dodson's co-author of 'In Motion,' said that Americans have a more positive view of immigrants in general than they do of American-born blacks. Referring to African immigrants, she said: 'They are better educated, they're here to work, to prosper, they're more compliant and don't pose a threat.'

Dr. Dodson added, 'They're not politically mobilized as yet and not as closely tied to the African-American agenda.'
In short, the new immigrants have yet to be recruited by the progressive left and used as more pawns in the game of racial-identity politicking. Progressives may be frustrated with their efforts to indoctrinate these minorities, however:
The influx has other potential implications, from recalibrating the largely monolithic way white America views blacks to raising concerns that American-born blacks will again be left behind.

'Historically, every immigrant group has jumped over American-born blacks,' said Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian. 'The final irony would be if African immigrants did, too.'
Those numbers reflect only legal immigrants, who have been arriving at the rate of about 50,000 a year, first mostly as refugees and students and more recently through family reunification and diversity visas. Many speak English, were raised in large cities and capitalist economies, live in families headed by married couples and are generally more highly educated and have higher-paying jobs than American-born blacks [emphasis added].
Does one sense here an oblique suggestion by the Times of why American-born blacks have failed to acheive a higher standard of living?


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