President Obama’s much-rumored executive order granting legal status to potentially millions of illegal immigrants will be “disastrous” to African-American job seekers and a slap in the face to others proceeding through the tedious legal immigration process, charges a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Peter Kirsanow, a black commissioner on the eight-member panel, warned in a letter (below) to Obama this week that giving legal status to undocumented workers will pave the way for them to take the few jobs that blacks, especially African-American men, need.

“I write to remind you of the disastrous effect of illegal immigration on the employment of all Americans, but particularly black Americans,” he wrote to Obama.

“Any grant of legal status will serve as a magnet to prospective illegal immigrants and further depress employment opportunities and wages for African Americans. Given that the labor force participation rate is at an historic low, the unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, and there has been a precipitous decline in household wealth, the timing for such a grant of legal status could not be worse,” he wrote in the letter, provided to Secrets.

Obama hasn’t formally decided what to do on immigration reform, but is planning some form of executive action after he returns from his extended vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Island in Massachusetts.

There have been several reports that he will grant legal status or some form of amnesty to millions of illegals including the tens of thousands of youths streaming over the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kirsanow, a Republican on the commission, cited past testimony about the impact opening the borders to new immigrants has on jobs for blacks.

“Illegal immigration has a disparate impact on African American men because these men are disproportionately represented in the low-skilled labor force,” wrote Kirsanow. He added, “Granting legal status to millions of people who are in the United States illegally will continue to depress the wages and employment opportunities of African American men and teenagers. It also will depress the wages and employment opportunities of African Americans going forward.”

And, he wrote, any sweeping executive order would be unfair to immigrants moving through the proper process to become Americans.

“The proposed executive order is unfair to people who are attempting to immigrate legally,” he said. “Most of the illegal immigrants who would benefit from your executive order have no skills, so they lose nothing by coming here illegally. Yet your proposed executive order is unlikely to make the visa process less cumbersome for legal immigrants or alleviate visa backlogs,” he added.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at