Thursday, August 11, 2011

Job Creation and Immigration

Tucked in between dramatic stock market drops on Thursday and Monday, there was a little bit of seemingly good economic news on Friday morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the private sector added 117,000 jobs in the month of July.

But this news needs an asterisk. As Chris Chmielenski of the immigration control organization Numbers USA notes, “that number still falls short of the number of jobs needed for the 125,000 work permits issued to foreign workers each month by the federal government.”

Despite the recession, the government continues to issue huge numbers of visas to foreign workers. In 2010, we issued over one million permanent green cards. Three quarter of these immigrants were of working age who are competing against Americans for jobs. We also issue nearly a million guest worker visas each year.

This is not enough for many in Congress. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is reportedly planning to introduce another “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, which will grant amnesty to illegal aliens and massively increase legal immigration.

Knowing that this is going to be a tough sell in a recession, Sen. Schumer explained that he met with leaders of various pro-amnesty organizations and, “We decided we ought to start highlighting the fact that immigration creates jobs rather than takes them away. Everyone agreed that is how we are going to start talking about immigration, as a job creator.”

Talk all they want, but our current immigration policies are taking jobs, not creating them.

On July 26, Sen. Schumer held a hearing to promote the idea that immigrants create jobs called "The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform." The hearing focused on immigration of high skilled workers and entrepreneurs, but these are only a tiny proportion of all immigrants. In 2010, only 0.2% of legal immigrants were investors, 5.2% received advanced degree visas, and 1.1% were listed as having “extraordinary abilities.”

Virtually all illegal aliens and the majority of legal immigrants are low skilled workers. Moreover, the skills of many workers on high skilled H-1B visas are often limited to a tech degree from a community college overseas. They are brought here not because they have truly advanced abilities needed by American businesses, but because they will work for far less than Americans. As Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently stated about H-1B visas “it is clear they are not working as intended, and the programs are having a detrimental effect on American workers.”

Last October, the Rakesh Kochar of the Pew Hispanic Center reported that since the "official end of the Great Recession in June 2009, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost 1.2 million." He updated his finding in March and found some small job creation for native born Americans, but that foreign workers were still finding new jobs at six times the American rate.

How should we solve this problem? Former National Review editor and George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum recently called for a simple solution to help reduce unemployment, an Immigration Moratorium. He argued, “You hear it often said that the US must create X number of jobs per month simply to stay even with the increase in the working population. It’s not stressed often enough that much of this increase is artificially created by immigration. In a time of high unemployment, why make the challenge larger?”

I don’t always agree with David Frum, but this is common sense. Until Americans are working, we should make across the board cuts on worker visas, while cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. In the meantime, whenever you hear a politician or pundit heads talking about “putting Americans back to work”, remember that many of those workers aren’t Americans.


A Disconnect on Immigration

Ipsos has just released a poll measuring citizens' perception of immigration in 23 countries. Despite what politicians around the world would have their countrymen believe, the average person isn't buying the benefits of current immigration policy.

The poll proves that our collective gut is indeed in line with reality: 80 percent of world citizens, from Russia and Brazil to America and India, feel that immigration has increased over the past five years, with 52 percent feeling it's too much. Of respondents, 45 percent believe immigration has a negative impact on their country. This is legal, above-board immigration with which people are taking issue.

While politicians in America typically focus on the 12 million or so illegal immigrants, they often ignore the fact that the country is taking in more than a million new legal immigrants every year.

America may have been built on immigration, but it wasn't the kind of mass Third World immigration that we've been seeing over the past 40 years. The left originally introduced the concept of Third World multiculturalism to America during the Lyndon Johnson presidency through the Democratic Party's Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It was born of white-guilt overkill in the shade of the Civil Rights Movement.

At the time, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy said: "Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia. ... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think. ... The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."

In the true final analysis, the new law opened the floodgates to exponentially more Third World immigrants than originally planned -- and did it on the basis of "family reunification" rather than skill.

Before the new law, immigrants to the U.S. came overwhelmingly from Western European democracies and Canada. Afterward, immigration from Latin America and Asia dominated, while European immigration was reduced from 86 percent of the total to a mere sliver of 13 percent.

The law led to an influx of new Democratic voters via immigration. Now, any politician wanting to land this growing immigrant vote -- whether Democrat or Republican -- had better find a way to pander to the idea of multiculturalism, or, theoretically, risk alienating a major swath of voters. Ronald Reagan presided over near-record levels of annual legal immigration, and George W. Bush was anything but tough on immigration, maintaining immigration levels from the same countries against which we struggled ideologically in the aftermath of 9/11. No one wants to touch it.

The idea of any and all legal immigration being a net positive is something that has been deeply planted in the public conscience through leftist brainwashing and diversity-promotion initiatives, typically starting in the public education system. If anything, the Ipsos poll finally proves this to be definitively true, with the most educated respondents being the most supportive of immigration. Educated Canadians have the most positive view of immigration of anyone in the world. As a product of that system, I can vouch for the amount of multicultural and diversity peddling to which the average student is subjected in the absence of any counterpoint. This, despite the fact that the two founding factions, French and English Canadians, haven't ever gotten along, even leading to a period of French nationalist terrorism, which has since been subdued by repeatedly buying off the French-Canadian province of Quebec.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Ipsos survey -- and most in conflict with current U.S. policy -- is that 45 percent of people prefer skilled, educated immigrants who take high-level jobs that locals won't do over low-skilled immigrants or those who don't work at all. So future policy ought to focus on importing top talent and limiting low-level immigration -- which is also a recipe for competitive success in the global economy. It would be a safe place for politicians to start on a subject they've all been avoiding.


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