Would Black Youth Work on Farms?

Candidate for Congress suggests illegal immigrants be deported and replaced with African-Americans workers.

Posted: 03/15/2011 02:30 PM EDT
immigration, deportation, farm work

An Independent candidate for U.S. Congress, Jack Davis, is under fire in New York for saying that unemployed African-American young people should take over the agriculture jobs currently being filled by illegal immigrants.

Davis has run for office before—and lost—as a Democrat. Now an Independent, the businessman was trying to get approval to run as a Republican candidate when he recently said he believes he can help solve Black unemployment and the immigration problem simultaneously. In 2008, while again running for the House, Davis said, “We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities. Put them on buses, take them out there [to the farms] and pay them a decent wage; they will work.”

He’s now apparently reiterated those comments in a meeting with New York GOP executives. According to the Buffalo News, sources from inside the meeting say Davis “suggested that Latino farmworkers be deported -- and that African-Americans from the inner city be bused to farm country to pick the crops.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the GOP leaders with whom Davis was speaking were horrified. "I was thunderstruck," said Marshall Wood , a GOP chairman from Amherst named. "Maybe in 1860 that might have been seen by some as an appropriate comment, but not now.”

And Gordon Brown, the Wyoming County GOP chair, said outright that Davis’ statement was “racist.”

Before you jump on the “Davis is racist” bandwagon, however, Davis spokesman W. Curtis Ellis asks that people consider what it is that Davis was actually saying. “It may not be politically correct and it may not be racially correct,” he says, “but when you have African-American people in Buffalo who do not have jobs and are out of work, why are you bringing people into this country illegally to take jobs?"

It’s a good question, albeit difficult one to ask. And it looks as if Davis asked it in the wrong way.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)