Mexican President Vicente Fox's recent comment that undocumented Mexican immigrants take jobs that "not even blacks" are willing to take was not only racist, but could harm historically good relations between African Americans and Latino Americans.
NAACP Interim President and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes said: "It is regrettable not only that President Fox thought he could make such a statement without public rebuttal, but that there has been no criticism from the Texas business leaders he spoke with. Apparently they saw nothing offensive in Fox's comments.
"The NAACP has worked for many years in coalition with Latino civil rights groups and it would be a shame for those relationships to be strained because of Fox's comments. For example, Janet Murguia, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza, will address the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit next week in Destin, Fla. The Mexican president's thinking represents a stereotype that has its basis in racism. It's not a question of Latino workers taking jobs that African Americans do not want, it's a matter of too few blue collar jobs for all American workers."
The NAACP, said Hayes, has fought for 96 years for civil rights that benefit all Americans, including immigrant workers. He said Fox's statement points out the need for "a sensible immigration and guest worker program that doesn't penalize American workers."
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