Bakersfield Immigration Ads Underline Risk to American Workers

Published on August 20th, 2013

By Joe Guzzardi
August 20, 2013

On August 13, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) launched a series of television and radio spots urging Congressman Kevin McCarthy to stand firm against any House effort to pass immigration reform, be it piecemeal or comprehensive. With Kern County’s June unemployment at 11. 5 percent, legalizing more workers or importing foreign-born workers as McCarthy is considering, is unjustifiable. The ads will run through Labor Day, September 2nd.

CAPS chose Labor Day to conclude its campaign to help underline the devastating effect that increasing immigration would have on American workers, especially the 20 million unemployed or under-employed.

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 2013. 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 unconscionably high unemployment levels.

Although Congress tries to distract the nation by suggesting that more immigration would create jobs and stimulate the economy, the opposite is true. Congress’ 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. 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.

Taken as a whole, the CBO foretells an America where for the next ten years more immigration creates more intense job pressure.  Currently, job creation is barely keeping up with population growth, one of CAPS most compelling concerns.

Congress steadfastly refuses to discuss the impact mass immigration would have on our scarce natural resources. Even though adding tens of millions of people to the United States in the next decade will result in sprawl, traffic congestion, and greater demand for water, electricity and open spaces, few policymakers have discussed what infrastructure changes Americans must make to accommodate such a dramatic population increase.

Californians should hope Rep. McCarthy uses his influence as the third ranking member to kill immigration reform. Americans' priorities, including jobs, come first.

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