Unemployment

There are over 13 million Americans who are either currently unemployed or are working part-time but want and cannot find a full-time job and to include those who are unemployed but not listed in an official government database. Therefore why does our government continue to allow one million legal immigrants to America each year?  Of course this number does not include illegal immigration each year.  There are over six million illegal immigrants in non-farm jobs in the USA. And we have US Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) advocating for a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants (aka amnesty) and more H-2B non-farm visas for foreign workers instead of spending his time in an effort to help more citizens, especially low-skilled citizens, find jobs.

National and statewide N.C. polls show citizens want our government to require all businesses to use the federal government’s on-line E-Verify System to determine legal resident status so only citizens and legal residents are hired.  And polls also show citizens want companies fined who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

But even with high U-6 unemployment, we still have companies who want more foreign workers allowed into the USA.  They say Americans won’t do the work.  Of course there is no proof of this in non-farm jobs.  Sadly capitalism today is often crony capitalism in that employers frequently offer a wage they wish they could pay and if no one takes the job, instead of raising wages, the employer believes it is OK to hire illegal immigrants in violation of our immigration laws. The bulk of the job categories in which illegal immigrants work are jobs that citizens will do and are service related in the USA and do not compete internationally – frame a house, clean a hotel room, work in a restaurant, etc. Robotics, further automation, and technology advancements could replace over a third of today’s occupations according to Dr. Michael Walden at NCSU. Clearly we do not need large numbers of immigrants now or in the future to do work in the USA.

Farmers have unlimited access to legal migrant workers with H-2A temporary visas, but most farmers refuse to hire them because they have to pay them over $8.00 an hour.  The answer to this problem is to further automate and mechanize farming.  And AGbots, robots designed for many areas of farming to include even berry picking, are only about five to eight years away. Many farmers bought mechanized cotton pickers, tomato harvesters, etc years ago, but some farmers will never mechanize as long as they have access to illegal immigrants at cheap wages and then in effect are able to send their public social services costs to taxpaying citizens.  Only 8% of illegal immigrants in North Carolina are involved in agricultural work, and only 4% nationwide are involved in agricultural work according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

From the Center for Immigration Studies:

“The last four decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of immigrants (legal and illegal) arriving. The overall immigrant or foreign-born population has increased from 9.6 million in 1970 (4.8 percent of the population) to 42.4 million (13.3 percent the population) by the beginning of 2015. This massive immigration has sparked an intense debate over its costs and benefits. One of the central issues in the immigration debate is its impact on American workers, particularly less-educated Americans who work at the bottom end of the labor force, where immigrants are concentrated.

“There is some disagreement among economists about the size of the impact on American workers. However, almost all economists agree that less-educated workers have done very poorly in the labor market over the last four decades as immigration has increased. This testimony examines trends in wages and employment and finds no evidence of a shortage of less-educated workers. Moreover, there is significant research showing that immigration has reduced employment and wages for less-educated natives.” In late 2015 the Congressional Research Service reports that during the last 43 years between 1970 and 2013, when the foreign-born population grew 325 percent, incomes for the bottom 90% of wage earners fell nearly 8 percent. The CRS reports from 1945 to 1970 as the foreign population fell, the bottom 90% of wage earners saw an 82.5% increase in their wages. Immigration today is sadly being used as a weapon against working men and women, and it is not just the low-skilled since we see abuses in the H-1B high tech visa program among other visa programs.

Read this entire May 2017 report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

For more information about immigration’s impact on unemployment, read “Are There Really Jobs Americans Won’t Do?.

Also read this February 2010 Backgrounder from the Center for Immigration Studies: “Business and Labor on Immigration: Contrasting Views of Leaders vs. Rank and File.

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