A bombshell commentary in Roll Call should wake Americans up about the economic and environmental effects of unchecked population growth. Roll Call is a widely read Capitol Hill publication that’s covered Washington, D.C. since 1955.
“Memo to GOP: Cut Immigration or Quit Commentary,” coauthored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and U.S. Rep. David Brat (R-VA), outlines the stark reality of adding millions of legal immigrants year after year without congressional debate, and the sustainability of such increases.
Looking ahead and drawing from federal government statistics as well as respected think tanks, Sessions and Brat write that the Census Bureau predicts another 14 million net immigrants (including those arriving legally and illegally) will enter the U.S. between today and 2025.
To drive the point home, the legislators point out that 14 million represent nearly five times the number of high school students that will graduate this year. Further, the respected Pew Research Center projects that new immigrants and their children will add another 103 million residents to the U.S. during the next five decades, the population equivalent of 25 more cities the size of Los Angeles.
Examining the impact on wages during earlier low immigration periods, Sessions and Brat cite the Congressional Research Service which found that from 1945 to 1970 as the foreign-born population fell, the bottom 90 percent of wage earners benefited from an 82.5 percent increase in their incomes. During those 25 years, millions of immigrants who arrived pre-1945 were able to climb out of poverty and into the middle class.
Conversely, however, Sessions and Brat note that American wages declined sharply after Congress lifted the immigration caps in the 1960s, which led to a quadrupling of the U.S. foreign-born population to 42 million by 2014. Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that September’s real average wages declined 0.2 percent month-over-month and are lower now than they were in 1973.
The cumulative consequences of the high and continuing immigration waves come in an era when robots have replaced workers, record numbers live on welfare, and manufacturing plants have shut their doors and moved overseas. This toxic mix has helped create an immense wage-compressing surplus of labor: 66 million working-age residents are not working; one in four age 23-53 is unemployed. In short, high immigration produces unemployment and depresses wages.
To hear Congress tell it, the U.S. needs more immigration to fill perceived labor shortages even though, according to the liberal Economic Policy Institute, there are none. EPI’s research showed that the number of unemployed “far outstrips” available jobs across the board.