By Joe Guzzardi
July 30, 2014
An alarming Capitol Hill rumor speculates that sometime soon, maybe as early as August, President Obama will extend his 2012 deferred action amnesty for unaccompanied minors to their parents and possibly to other aliens. Frank Sharry, long time open borders advocate and America’s Voice Executive Director would like to see Obama grant deportation exemptions to the 12 million aliens who might have been amnestied had the 2013 Senate Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization bill become law.
In an effort to take executive action that might appear less sweeping, Obama would be more likely to recategorize aliens and grant temporary legal status to each sub-group: 4.7 million alien parents with children living in the U.S.; 3.8 million aliens with U.S. citizen children; 1.5 million aliens married to U.S. citizens and 1 million agricultural workers. Whether the aliens are legalized in one dramatic executive order or piecemeal, the same 12 million would get work authorization and social security cards.
Obama defends his inexcusable blanket amnesty plan under the guise of doing “what Congress refuses to do, and fix as much of our immigration system as we can.” Never during his five years of immigration reform advocacy has Obama mentioned how more immigration hurts American workers. Assuming Obama carries out his threat, most of the deferred action beneficiaries will be adults who, with their brand new federally authorized work permits in hand, will enter the labor market to compete with unemployed Americans. Even employed Americans would be at risk of losing their jobs to once unemployable (because of their immigration status) aliens who might be willing to work for lower wages.
The non-partisan, Washington D.C-based Economic Policy Institute estimates that 6 million Americans are neither employed nor, because of the weak labor market, looking for work. Accordingly, EPI considers the official June 6.1 percent Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate misleading; true unemployment is 12.1 percent. Half the missing workers are men in their prime earning years. Adding 12 million foreign-born job seekers to a glutted market would have disastrous effects on unemployed Americans.
For Americans, mass immigration and Obama-style amnesty results in a redistribution of income by lowering Americans’ wages and increasing business owners’ profits. The losses for displaced Americans and the gains to corporations that take advantage of immigrant labor are substantial. Thus the intense Chamber of Commerce lobbying for immigration reform even though real U.S. wages have been stagnant for 30 years and the middle class is poorer today than it was in 1984.
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, a Democrat and currently a University of California, Berkeley Public Policy Professor, says that regardless of Congress’ opinion on immigration reform the net result on American workers is fewer jobs. As long as employers can hire legal immigrant workers to whom they can pay less, Americans will go wanting. Here’s proof that Reich is right: according to federal data published in the Current Population Survey and collected by the Census Bureau, since 2000, native-born Americans account for two-thirds of the total growth in the working-age (16-65) population, yet all the employment growth during that period went to immigrants.
America stands at a critical juncture. Associated Press polling shows that nearly 70 percent of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling illegal immigration and a plurality rejects supplemental funding to resettle the Central American aliens. Nevertheless, Obama could act independently of Congress, grant amnesty, and accelerate the historic American nation’s demise.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]