By Joe Guzzardi
July 1, 2016
For Americans who want sane, sustainable immigration, President Barack Obama has a message for you. This week in Ottawa at a North American leaders’ summit that included Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Obama called his open borders critics anti-immigrant, demagogues, nativists, extremists and xenophobes.
Disappointingly, Obama resorted to worn-out clichés during his argument for expanded immigration. America’s greatness, Obama insisted, is that it’s a “nation of immigrants.” Obama claimed that adding to the 41.3 million foreign-born already here – a total that includes 10.2 million immigrants who have arrived since 2000, and 3.1 million newcomers in the last two years alone – would make America stronger.
The President’s post-San Bernardino, post-Orlando, post-Istanbul lecture about unchecked immigration’s merits was short on tangibles. Something quite different from Obama’s idyllic immigration vision is unfolding in today’s real world.
Dramatic immigration increases have hurt American workers, a variable that Obama never mentions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, foreign-born workers account for all the gains in U.S. employment in the past seven years. BLS data shows that 1.5 million fewer American workers had jobs in 2014 than were employed prior to the 2007 recession. During the same period 2007-2014 period, foreign-born employment for legal and illegal immigrants rose by more than two million.
BLS findings about the spike in overseas employment, in many cases causing American worker displacement, is directly tied to the annual 1 million permanent work permits legal immigrants automatically receive, and also is linked to the 750,000 temporary guest workers that come each year. Since Obama’s inauguration, workers age 55 and under – the prime employment years – have lost a cumulative total of 4.6 million jobs. Those Americans represent the jobless generation.
On top of the 1 million annual legal immigrants, and the three-quarters of a million guest workers, Obama has determined, without a congressional vote or even a hearing, to resettle 10,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees before the end of fiscal 2016 which puts total refugee resettlement in 2016 at 85,000, up from last year’s 70,000.
Refugees are work-authorized. Because the refugees have limited language and job skills, Obama will host the September’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees – another leaders’ summit! – to help provide them with, as the White House announced, “new opportunities to work and support themselves.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power described the summit as a forum that will urge the private sector to provide jobs and donate services to the refugees – jobs and services that the 50 million Americans living in poverty and the 94 million Americans detached from the labor force would also benefit from had they been made available to the disenfranchised.
Although refugees could be safely resettled closer to their home nations, that more sensible, more compassionate program doesn’t fit Obama’s agenda. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can’t keep up with the torrent of applications for admissions that Obama’s welcome-the-world polices have created. Since 2011, the USCIS refugee and asylee backlog has soared 1,400 percent.
Extremely high immigration hurts millions of working and unemployed Americans. Obama shouldn’t put struggling Americans at further risk though his radical interpretation of what a functioning immigration system looks like.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization.
Contact Joe at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.