By Maria Fotopoulos
July 7, 2010
That President Obama is an amnesty advocate is no secret.
When he came to office, “Bring People Out of the Shadows” was the fourth of five cornerstones listed on Obama’s immigration agenda page at the White House website. Under this point was “Support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.”
Speaking at American University recently, the President reiterated his support for “immigration reform” (continuing to use this misnomer for what is amnesty) and further outlined what amnesty looks like.
Amnesty was a bad idea when Obama took office, and it’s still a bad idea.
Obama supports legalizing millions of illegal aliens, giving them American jobs and bringing in more foreign workers to take jobs, all through a plan that – as the history of past amnesties shows – would lead to increased illegal immigration. Obama referred to 11 million illegal aliens, a number that may be underestimated by millions. The population impact to the country will be even greater when looking at the long-term multiplier impact of “chain migration” – the ability of new citizens to bring in additional family members.
While amnesty makes absolutely no sense for the United States in the best of times, there are truly compelling reasons to say no to amnesty in the worst economic period since the Great Depression.
U.S. unemployment officially is 9.5 percent, but the actual number likely is closer to 16.5 percent when part-time people who want full-time jobs, those who have given up looking and people who dropped off unemployment rolls are factored into the calculation. Once you drill down to specific states or groups, the numbers are particularly ugly. In California, unemployment is 12.4 percent, and 20 percent in several counties. Nationwide, there is 37.3 percent unemployment among black teens and 24.4 percent among white teens.
The U.S. has had a decade of stagnating job growth in the private sector. Nearly 8 million jobs have been lost during this recession – jobs that reportedly may not return soon, if ever. Even if you have a job, your wages may be artificially suppressed by illegal labor or labor brought in on special visas such as H1-Bs. This wage suppression is occurring across pay ranges – at the low end of the pay scale in farm fields and fast food to the mid-range on construction sites and at the professional level in public accounting firms.
Very simply put, jobs held illegally by foreign workers are jobs that could be held by American citizens. This is a concept not lost on former presidents, including Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower, who deported millions of people that were in the U.S. illegally.
Getting American citizens back to work – not coddling people who are here illegally – should be on Obama’s Top 10 List. The only responsibility Obama has to people who are living and working here illegally is to encourage their return to home countries (along with any children born here) as humanely as possible through workplace enforcement (including the use of E-Verify), deportation, attrition and strict border and visa enforcement.
American citizens must demand that Obama spend less time attempting to enrich foreigners who are in the U.S. illegally and focus on getting 15 to 25 million American citizens back to work.
Maria Fotopoulos is a Senior Writing Fellow for the Santa Barbara-based organization, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS | CAPSweb.org), where she writes about the population-sustainability connection. Reach her at [email protected], on Twitter at TurboDog50 and Facebook at Maria K. Fotopoulos.