By Joe Guzzardi
September 13, 2013
With so many Americans suffering, Congress should be focused on putting them back to work, not making their lives tougher by expanding the labor pool through increased immigration.
The jobs data is shocking. According to the U.S. Current Population Survey, nearly 58 million native-born Americans between the ages of 16 and 65 didn’t work during the second quarter of 2013, a figure that has remained steady for three years but has increased by 17 million since the second quarter of 2000. The number of adult natives not working is widespread and includes 25 million with no more than a high school education, 16 million with some education beyond high school, and nine million with at least a bachelor's degree. Hispanics, blacks, teens, seniors, returning veterans and disabled Americans have very high unemployment levels.
In a recently released report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey found that of the Of the 963,000 jobs created in the past six months, 936,000( 97 percent) of them are part-time.
Although Congress tries to distract the nation by suggesting that more immigration would create jobs and stimulate the economy, the opposite is true. Congress’s first action would be to grant legal work authorization to illegal immigrants who are, because of their immigration status, unemployable.
Virtually overnight, the U.S. labor pool would increase by 11 million, the nation's estimated illegal immigrant population (other credible estimates are as high as 20-30 million). Legal status, whether provisional or temporary, would be granted before the federal government builds more fencing, mandates E-Verify or completes an entry-exit system to deter visa holders from overstaying.
American workers benefit from tight labor markets. Immigration loosens markets and makes it harder for Americans to get and keep jobs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if a bill liberalizing immigration passes, more immigrants with lower skills than with higher skills would be added to the workforce. Consequently, the average American wage would decline.
The CBO further calculates that the Senate immigration bill, versions of which the House is considering, would do little to prevent future illegal immigration. Only between 33 percent and 50 percent of future illegal immigrants would be blocked from entering the United States than are under existing laws. Specifically, the CBO predicts that new illegal immigration would add nearly 500,000 illegal residents and their children to the U.S. population each year over the next decade and that nearly five million new illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children will be living in the country by 2023.