By Joe Guzzardi
July 12, 2013
On July 15, at Washington D.C.’s Freedom Plaza, Americans from all demographic sectors will gather to rally for jobs. Organized by the Black American Leadership Alliance, marchers will protest the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, that would increase legal immigration levels by 50 percent and grant amnesty to more than 11 million illegal aliens. The bill, which the Senate passed and the House is considering, would add millions more to the U.S. labor force, put millions of American citizens out of work—cheap labor is more appealing to employers than paying a living wage—and make the job search for 20 million unemployed more difficult.
Leah Durant, the Alliance’s founder and a former Justice Department trial lawyer, wrote a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus which pointed out that black unemployment is more than 13 percent, nearly twice the level of whites.
More legalization for illegal immigrants and importing more overseas workers subjects struggling Americans including blacks, Hispanics (9 percent unemployment), returning veterans (7.5 percent), high school diploma only (40 percent), high school drop outs (50 percent) to more job competition and wage stagnation. Among recent college graduates, only about half work in jobs that require a degree.
With job creation barely keeping pace with population growth, adding millions of legal workers through visas and legalization is a formula for an ongoing economic disaster. The Northeastern University Center for Labor Market Studies confirmed the dire consequences of sustained immigration in its report titled “Exclusive: Over a Million Immigrants Land Jobs in 2008-2010.”
More and more white collar Americans have experienced the turbulent upheaval that the last generation’s blue collar workers endured. The United States is experiencing the greatest wave of economic transition since agricultural mechanization cut the percentage of the farming labor force working from more than half in 1890 to less than two percent today.
The road to a middle class job is harder than ever before: more years of school, of debt, of internships, and of futile searching after graduation until, hopefully, that first career-building job comes through.
For college graduates fortunate enough to land a middle class job, they will find them less desirable, less stable and lower paying than they were fifty years ago. Young workers typically get less generous benefit plans, if any at all, than older workers. In some cases, new hires have artificially imposed maximum working hours specifically so that employers can avoid paying for health care and vacations.
Because there is so much competition from unemployed job seekers, and because corporations’ successes rise and fall so quickly, it’s harder to keep good jobs once you have them.
Although Washington’s focus should be on the best way to help unemployed Americans, Congress frames the immigration bill as a debate on the perceived benefits of granting legal status to aliens and the urgency of filling a nonexistent labor shortage that big business demands to increase its profitability.
Most of this year’s headlines have featured gun control, gay marriage, and the administration’s scandals. But the lack of good jobs is the United States’ most serious and enduring problem. Adding millions of foreign-born workers to an already saturated job market should spark national outrage. But the relationship between increased immigration and American job loss is mostly ignored because the media stubbornly refuses to write responsibly about the link between them.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]