Unmentionable at CPAC: Amnesty’s Effect on American Workers

Published on March 17th, 2014

By Joe Guzzardi
March 17, 2014

On the nation’s most hotly debated subject, whether to grant amnesty for 12 million illegal immigrants and double legal immigration, the recent Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting turned out to be a bust.

For those in the GOP who hoped to have an intelligent exchange about the consequences of huge immigration increases on the American worker, the topic was ignored. A quick look at the invitee roster showed that those who oppose amnesty were absent while those in favor held prominent spots on the speakers’ list. The inescapable conclusion is that the organizers, the American Conservative Union, support a pro-amnesty, anti-American worker agenda. 

Only one panel pretended to address immigration. Named “Can There Be Meaningful Immigration Reform without Citizenship?” the title suggests that citizenship is essential to reform when, in truth, legalization which automatically includes work authorization is the most important. 

The four-participant panel was top heavy with amnesty supporters, 3-1. On the pro-side Alfonso Aguilar argued for more work visas but misled the audience with inaccurate statistics. While lobbying for more agriculture visas Aguilar falsely claimed that no one uses the H-2A visa which allows for an unlimited number of foreign-born ag workers. Aguilar further insisted, also incorrectly, that no backlog of legal immigrants exists and that therefore amnesty for illegal immigrants wouldn’t push anyone to the back of the line. 

The truth: in 2012, 183,860 H-2A visas were issued and, according to the State Department’s 2014 Visa Bulletin, thousands of U.S. citizens’ married sons and daughters, mostly from the Philippines and Mexico, are waiting for their green cards. 

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, former House Judiciary Committee Chair, observed that for the second year in a row CPAC has featured speakers who predominantly support the Gang of Eight and the liberal media’s immigration legislation. In Smith’s opinion, truth-in-advertising should compel CPAC to drop “conservative” from its name. 

Coincidental with the CPAC conference, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its February jobs report which should have but didn’t put a damper on immigration enthusiasm. The Senate and House bills would create tens of millions of new workers that would inevitably compete with 20 million unemployed Americans for increasingly scarce jobs. Even employed Americans aren’t safe from wage undercutting by new entrants into the labor pool. 

The BLS report was another dreary reminder of the American employment crisis. Using the payroll survey, the official total new February jobs created was 175, 000, fewer than the last 12-month average of 185,000 but greater than the anticipated 150,000. The more accurate household survey showed only 42,000 new jobs, a dismal total. Considering that many, if not most of those jobs are in the low-paying service sector, the overall employment picture is indeed grim.

Other news reflected the same stagnant employment conditions that have prevailed for months. The labor force participation rate held steady at 63 percent, unchanged from January. Similarly, the employment-population ratio was also consistent at 58.8 percent.

Purposely ignored in the contentious amnesty war of words is that every year, the U.S admits about 1 million legal, work authorized immigrants. 

None of the BLS data reinforces the argument for more guest workers or an illegal immigrant blanket amnesty.

To the contrary, the irrefutable BLS evidence shows beyond doubt that an immediate immigration time out is essential for U.S. workers and their families.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]

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