Economy, Regs, & Taxes

All Net Job Gains Since 2000 Went to Immigrants

A new study finds that it isn't just "jobs Americans won't do."

Jun. 30, 2014
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If you carry the perception that immigrants are coming here to take American jobs, you may be right. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies claims that, in net terms, the entirety (and then some) of the overall employment increase since 2000 has been taken up by immigrants, with native-born Americans suffering a small overall job loss.

Obviously, the study isn’t claiming this happened on an individual case-by-case basis, since millions of native-born workers have come into the workforce over the last 14 years while some immigrants remain unemployed. But the study, which comes from a group portrayed by the Left as a “false-fact think tank,” was intended to prove that claims made by amnesty proponents that there is an American labor shortage are demonstrably false.

CIS goes on to argue the old mantra that immigrants do the jobs Americans won’t do is also untrue. “Immigrants have made gains across the labor market in lower-, middle- and higher-skilled jobs,” write study authors Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler. “Thus the idea that there are jobs Americans don’t do is simply not supported by the data.”

Congressional opponents of amnesty see the study as bolstering their case. “President Obama and congressional Democrats … remain focused on the demands of activist CEOs who want new labor at the lowest price,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). “Republicans must sever themselves from these demands and present themselves to the American public as the one party focused on everyday working people.”

Once thought to be on a fast track to success before the midterm elections, immigration reform has been slowed to a halt thanks in part to the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) by an amnesty opponent and the surge in undocumented children straining resources at the southern border. That issue has come to light as the number of unaccompanied minors has skyrocketed from about 8,000 annually to at least 90,000 apprehended this year.

That surge has prompted the White House to seek $2 billion in “emergency funds” to toughen border security. The Obama administration will officially notify Congress Monday, but it remains to be seen if common ground can be found.

With midterm elections looming, the advice from Sen. Sessions is sound: “The sensible, conservative, fair thing to do after 40 years of record immigration is to slow down a bit, allow assimilation to occur, allow wages to rise, and to help workers of all backgrounds rise together into the middle class.” That may be a bitter pill for groups like the Chamber of Commerce to swallow, but until our “many” again start becoming “one” – E Pluribus Unum – the go-slow approach with enhanced border security is the most prudent for our republic.

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