Hire Vets (Or Any American!); No to Aliens

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

May 17, 2012

As incredible as it is, the federal government prefers that recently arrived immigrants (and 8 million illegal aliens in non-farm jobs) be first in line for employment ahead of returning war veterans.

No formal Capitol Hill announcement to that effect has been issued. But here are the facts: every month, about 100,000 new legal immigrants arrive and are given work permits. Another 7 million enter on non-immigrant work visas like the H-1B. Add to that the Pew Hispanic Research Center report that another 7 million aliens work in non-farm related positions.

Then consider that Congress could dramatically reduce the numbers of employed aliens by passing the Legal Workforce Act that would check the immigration status of new hires and existing personnel. Over time, the aliens would be moved out of their jobs. Despite the obvious boost the Legal Workforce Act would be to unemployed Americans, Congress refuses to move it forward.

If you’ve concluded that Congress is anti-American worker, you’re right. Included in the 20 million Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed are the returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Estimates of their unemployment rate range widely from the official Bureau of Labor Statistics 8.1 percent to as high as 50 percent as calculated by organizations which work closely with vets. Many vets signed up straight out of high school and have no resumes other than their military service. [Deployed to unemployed, Vets Struggle to Find Work after Service, East Valley Tribune, May 6, 2012]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a comprehensive analysis of vet unemployment here.

When it comes to working in the U.S., priority is given to legal and illegal immigrants above American citizens including young war vet. For some vets, their cause is so desperate that one advocacy organization suggested hosting potlucks on their behalf.

Even though President Obama signed the Hires Heroes Act last year, nothing has changed because employed aliens still have their jobs and new immigrants, many willing to work cheaper than Americans, are arriving faster than the economy can absorb them. Legislation, no matter how well intended, does not create jobs.

Read the CAPS Action Alert titled “Tell Congress to Provide Jobs for Veterans, Not Foreign Workers” and send a FAX here.

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