Friday, March 22, 2013

Employment Picture Bleak in States Represented by Gang of Eight

Unemployment for U.S. Citizens in these States among Highest in Country  -- Yet Senators Push for More Immigration

Eight U.S. Senators from seven states – Rubio (R-FL), McCain (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC), Flake (R-AZ), Schumer (D-NY), Menendez (D-NJ), Bennet (D-CO), and Durbin (D-IL) – have proposed an immigration plan allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country and increasing legal immigration in the future. A number of the Gang of Eight (Gof8) senators have made clear that they feel that there is a labor shortage, especially of workers to fill low-skilled jobs. (See their comments below).

As part of the Gof8 efforts, labor and business leaders are negotiating a new program to bring in more immigrants to fill “lesser-skilled” jobs. However, as shown by the Center for Immigration Studies' new analysis, employment data does not support the idea that there is a shortage of low-skilled labor. In fact, unemployment and non-work are more pronounced for less-educated U.S. citizens in the states represented by the Gof8 than in the nation as a whole.

“It is ironic that legislators from states with some of the highest unemployment rates are focused on making it easier for illegal immigrants to find work and on bringing in more workers. They seem unaware of the extraordinarily high unemployment figures among less-educated U.S. citizens,” comments the report’s lead author Dr. Steve Camarota,the Center's  Director of Research.

The complete study can be found here

Among the report’s findings:

*    In the seven states represented by the Gang of Eight (Gof8), the unemployment rate for U.S. citizens with no more than a high school education averaged 12.6% in 2012. This is higher than the 10.2% average for less-educated citizens in the other 43 states.
*    The broader measure of unemployment (referred to as U-6), which includes those who want to work but have not looked recently, shows unemployment averaged 21.7% for less-educated citizens in the Gof8 states for 2012. This is markedly higher than the 18.3% average in the other 43 states.
*    In the Gof8 states, U-6 unemployment was among the highest for citizens with no more than a high school education in 2012:
        24.4% in Arizona, 4th highest in the country
        22.1% in South Carolina, 8th highest in the country
        22.0% in Illinois, 9th highest in the country
        21.9% in New Jersey, 11th highest in the country
        20.6% in Florida, 15th highest in the country
        20.5% in New York, 18th highest in the country
        20.1% in Colorado, 19th highest in the country
*    Looking at all less-educated citizens (ages 18 to 65) shows 41.8% did not have job in 2012 in the Gof8 states, compared to an average of 37.9% in the other 43 states. This includes the unemployed and those entirely out of the labor market.
 *   In 2012, there were 6.5 million less-educated citizens (age 18 to 65) not working in the Gof8 states. Nationally, a total of 27.7 million less-educated citizens were not working.

Comments by some of the Gang of Eight

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaking to a Rotary Club in South Carolina in February 2013 stated that he was “trying to save our nation from, I think, a shortage of labor...”

On his web site Senator John McCain (R-AZ) discusses the need for more immigrant workers in many parts of the economy and he makes clear that Americans “don’t generally want the low-paying, low-skilled jobs.” He goes on to argue that the nation needs more foreign workers because “Our native-born work force is getting older. It’s shrinking – remember, our birth rates are falling.”

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal Sen. McCain also discussed the need to allow in more workers, particularly “low-skilled workers” and “agricultural workers.”


Data. The data for this analysis comes from the monthly public-use files of the Current Population Surveys (CPS) for 2000, 2007, and 2012. Each year represent 12 months of data averaged together. Each month the CPS includes about 131,000 respondents, roughly half of whom are in the labor force. The tables presented here are reported by quarter. By averaging 12 months together and creating yearly estimates it is possible to create a statistically robust figure at the state level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the same approach. All CPS respondents are asked their citizenship. This report uses the responses to the citizenship in the public use data to report employment statistics for U.S. citizens (native-born and naturalized).

Defining Unemployment. The standard measure of unemployment, referred to as U-3, takes the number of people who report that they are not working and have looked for a job in the last four weeks and divides it by the number actually working plus those looking for work. The broader measure of unemployment, referred to as U-6, includes those who are involuntary part-time (i.e., would prefer a full-time job but can't find one), and others who indicate that they want and are available for jobs, and they have looked for work in the past 12 months. They are not part of U-3 unemployment because they have not looked for a job in the prior four weeks.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820,  Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076.  Email: Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185,

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.  The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Judge Partially Blocks Georgia Immigration Law; Kansas Hearing Gets Emotional

A federal judge in Georgia permanently blocked the state from enforcing a key part of its sweeping immigration law, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The part in question would have punished those who transport or harbor undocumented immigrants or encourage them to come to Georgia knowingly.

Offenders would have faced imprisonment for up to 12 months and up to $1,000 in fines on their first charge.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash advised the state’s law enforcement about the directive.

Immigrant rights groups hailed the decision – saying it was a partial victory.

 “It really is a signal that laws like this really kind of belong to an approach to immigration that is increasingly behind us,” Omar Jadwat, the senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project told the AJC.

State Rep. Matt Ramsey, who authored the law, told the newspaper he was happy that most of the law remained unchanged.

 “In light of all the legal challenges that have been mounted against HB 87,” Ramsey said, “we continue to be very pleased with the outcome overall.”

In another immigration case in the state of Kansas, a House committee hearing on a measure that seeks to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students was met by an emotional audience Wednesday.

The measure under consideration in the House Federal and State Affairs Committee would repeal the nearly 10-year-old statute that allows students who graduate from Kansas high schools and have lived in Kansas for at least three years to pay in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges, regardless of their residency status, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Kim Voth, a Wichita school counselor, said that before coming to testify before the committee, she spoke with one of her students who used the in-state tuition law to get an education degree and has since become a U.S. citizen and a teacher.

"I asked her what I should say today," Voth said, beginning to cry. "She got very quiet, then said, `Please tell them that my college degree changed my life."'

Fred Logan, of the Kansas Board of Regents, said more than 500 of the 630 immigrants currently accessing in-state tuition attend community colleges. He said the 2004 law treats students without legal status fairly.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the repeal bill's chief proponent, argued that natives of foreign countries who follow the legal process of getting student visas to attend Kansas universities have to pay out-of-state tuition.

"I think that is an absurd reverse incentive," Kobach said. "If you follow the law, we're charging you three times more."

The biggest response from the crowded gallery came when Rep. Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, ended a series of questions to Kobach.

"I think it's funny, Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you," said Victors, the lone Native American in the Legislature.

People in the gallery then applauded, which is rare in such hearings. The committee did not take action on the bill.


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