Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) recently featured a cross-posted article which describes its latest television campaign: blaming immigrants for the lack of jobs available to returning military veterans, especially young African American men.
This article is hugely misleading for two reasons: CAPS as an organization would have to work very hard to demonstrate that it cares about African Americans at all, and a high unemployment rate among returning veterans is difficult to correlate with immigration.
CAPS is an anti-immigrant organization that often masquerades as an environmental advocate. CAPS has received funding from the Colcom Foundation, which has historically funded and promoted the work of the John Tanton Network (made up of white nationalists and xenophobic, bigoted anti-immigrant organizations). CAPS has also received funding from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund. These are not the kind of activists who commiserate with high unemployment rates among people of color.
It is downright laughable that CAPS would claim it is outraged on behalf of returning veterans based on the racial dynamics of unemployment. CAPS consistently attempts to drive a wedge into working class solidarity, and the organization is particularly devoted to pitting black and brown workers against one another.
CAPS’s argument, that “illegal” immigrants to the United States are taking jobs away from returning African American veterans, is highly simplistic. It is essential to keep in mind the chaotic state of affairs facing all veterans when they return home, as well as the structural racism that African American citizens often encounter when searching for a job.
National Public Radio (NPR) has reported extensively on returning soldiers, and their stories show that the United States is ill-equipped to offer the requisite support that helps vets transition into civilian jobs.
The cause of high veteran unemployment lies not with immigrants but with the overall economic, medical and racial culture of the United States. That the president must try to tax-incentivize businesses to get them to hire veterans is indeed a symbol of problematic priorities. The demographic of veterans most effected by unemployment also hints at the racial dynamics at play in this country, and how those dynamics help determine who is considered employable and who is not.
Businesses’ hesitation to hire appears to be twofold. First there is a gap between civilian understanding of skills gained in the military and how they might be applied in a domestic work environment, along with an employer’s hesitation to hire vets recovering from physical and psycho/emotional wounds. The second issue is the simple lack of healthcare available to returning soldiers.
I would argue that it is this second issue, coupled with the structurally racist society we live in, which particularly prevents African American vets from gaining employment. Though CAPS will continue to try and pit people of color against one another, it is essential to expose its racist agenda.
A forty-percent unemployment rate does not demonstrate that immigrants are “stealing” jobs. Rather, it perfectly illustrates how militarism and war deem certain members of society disposable, and how easily those members are cast aside.