“Working America is facing a crisis. It’s a jobs crisis and it’s the number one issue facing Americans. Far too many people are out of work, and many have been out of work for a long time.” - Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
Unemployment in California in Setpember, 2011 remains at 9.1 percent, the 26th month of unemployment at or above 9.0 percent.
At the same time, growing numbers of Californians and Americans in general, are being displaced by lower cost legal and illegal immigrant workers. Farmers, contractors and businesses see cheap foreign labor as a way to cut costs and increase profits.
Of particular concern is the glut of professional H-1B visa workers in the tech industry. By lobbying Congress, tech companies have helped continue to raise the number of H-1B visas issued annually to foreign workers while at the same time laying off American workers. These companies aggressively recruit foreign workers willing to work longer hours for less benefits and lower salaries. And often times, American high tech workers are forced to train their replacements on the job.
The tech industry claims “shortages” of high-tech workers, but even this year the number of H1-B visas issued exceeded the number of jobs created by the industry. The result is thousands of Californians who are either unemployed or underemployed. The impact is especially brutal on minorities who are often overlooked by employers in favor of cheap foreign and often illegal labor.
Nationally, some estimates for the number of American workers displaced by immigration each year are as high as two million.
And then there’s wage depression. By adding millions of newcomers to the work force who are willing to work for Third World wages, we are creating unfair competition and lower-wage jobs for all workers. When the labor market is flooded with cheap foreign (often illegal) labor and not enough jobs, it depresses wages and hurts American citizens and legal immigrants.