June 4, 2012
The link between immigration and American job displacement is so obvious that only the most stubborn administration could, in the face of the miserable Bureau of Labor Statistics May jobs report, refuse to impose an immigration moratorium. Last month, only 69,000 jobs were created---about half the total Wall Street anticipated. But a moratorium would immediately benefit unemployed Americans.
As if the May report isn’t bad enough, the BLS adjusted March and April figures downward to reflect 49,000 fewer jobs for the two months than previously announced. April’s correction was particularly eye-opening. Instead of the original 115,000 gain, the economy added only 77,000 jobs. Depressing the picture further, May’s labor force increased by 635,000 including recent college graduates and those whose unemployment insurance had expired. May marked the third consecutive month where not enough jobs were created to absorb workers who lost them during the recession. The employment to population ratio is down to 58.6 percent from its all time high achieved in 2000 of 64.7 percent.
Yet President Obama is determined to maintain immigration levels where they’ve been for decades---about one million legal immigrants annually plus tens of thousands of other “non-immigrants” most of whom arrive on any of dozens of different visas that grant work authorization.
Many immigration supporters will counter with tired rebuttals like “the United States is a nation of immigrants” and that immigrants’ bring innovation and a hard work ethic to an otherwise aging country.
But my math is inarguable. Every legal immigrant who comes to the United States can immediately work. By definition, that means fewer job opportunities for Americans and wage stagnation for those who are fortunate enough to be hired. Using May as the latest example, more immigrants arrived than jobs were created.
I can prove my point. The Census Bureau’s household survey which includes worker’s country of birth shows a much brighter May economic picture, 422,000 new jobs, than the nationally reported payroll survey. The bad news is that foreign-born workers hold almost all of those jobs. In May, foreign-born employment rose 1.9 percent while native-born employment fell by 0.003 percent.
The BLS first published statistics for native and foreign-born workers in January 2009, coincidentally Obama’s inaugural year. From January 2009 to May 2012, immigrant employment rose 6.1 percent. During the same period, native born-employment fell 1.04 percent. Boston’s Northeastern University first analyzed this trend in a special study it performed last year for Reuters and found that immigrants willing to work for lower wages, “have taken jobs Americans could do.”
Instead of coming to terms with the obvious adverse impact on American workers that over-immigration has, the White House comes up with the same tedious, half-truth excuses for the economy’s failure---the European crisis, stubborn congressional Republicans, gas prices or seasonal slowdowns.
Be that as it may, economists are in unison on two factors: one that population growth, fueled by high immigration and children born to immigrants, far outstrips job creation and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future and two, that full employment as it’s historically defined may never again be reached.
In his analysis of May’s devastating report, Obama said that if Americans were “willing to act wisely and boldly, the nation would come back stronger than ever.” Truly bold action and not just lip service would include an immigration moratorium while the nation struggles back to economic health.
Immigration should benefit Americans. Automatically admitting a million immigrants each year at American workers’ expense is a hurtful policy that should immediately be ended.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. His columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at email@example.com