By Ric Oberlink
October 29, 2012
“A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation,” noted James Freeman Clarke in 1870. Were he around today, Clarke might apply the same sentiments to the journalists who sit across from the candidates at debates.
During this time of massive unemployment, the state of the economy is appropriately the dominant issue, but I would appreciate some questions with a scope beyond four years. Furthermore, candidates and journalists have ignored the impact that immigration has on unemployed Americans. Here are some questions that will still be relevant after the election:
Governor Romney, you said, “I'd like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, ‘Come to America, we want you here.’” What do you say to the two million people in America who have technological degrees but are unemployed?
A recent study revealed that there were over two million unemployed residents of the United States with a bachelor’s or higher STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree. Moreover, there are about 10 million Americans with STEM degrees not working in their specialties, many of whom might be lured back to those fields with appropriate incentives. Instead, businesses prefer to import foreigners at lower wages.
This also raises the question of why we are not investing the resources to train our own workforce in technical fields. We have the world’s most advanced universities. Why do we need to import foreign students to fulfill our technological needs?
President Obama, you criticized Romney for outsourcing American jobs to China, but is there any difference between that and “insourcing,” bringing in foreign workers to take American jobs as we do with our immigration policy?
Since Obama’s inauguration, unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 43 months, compared to a total of 39 months above 8 percent between 1948 and 2008. Yet, according to the government’s own figures, the U.S. brings in 1.5 million new workers from other countries each year. The government issues almost one million new green cards annually, cards that award permanent residency including the right to hold a job.
It also issues almost one million temporary work permits under a variety of visas, although many of these workers never leave, so the total number of new work permits issued per year is almost two million. However, as many as half of the green card recipients were already working here legally on temporary visas, yielding an annual total of about 1.5 million new permits to foreign workers.
President Obama and Governor Romney, the British Parliament recently debated a motion to reduce immigration and stabilize the population below 70 million. The current population of the United Kingdom is 63 million. The United States has a population of 315 million, and the Census Bureau projects it to grow to 439 million by 2050, almost entirely due to immigration. Is this an appropriate policy, and, if so, what advantages to American citizens do you see from adding 130 million people to our country?
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to bring net migration to below 100,000 a year by 2015. The opposition Labor Party has apologized for its previous policy that allowed high immigration levels.
But it is not just densely populated Britain that realizes the harm of unlimited growth. In Australia, with just 23 million people, environmentalists and elected officials recognize the inherent degradation of resources caused by continuing population growth. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has renounced the previous policy of massive immigration, calling for “a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia.”
By contrast, America’s current policy leads to never-ending growth. The Census Bureau projects that a zero net immigration policy would yield a population of 323 million in 2050 instead of 439 million. That is a huge difference and should not that be part of the political debate?
Ric Oberlink is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and can be reached at [email protected]