Supreme Court to Hear Obama Amnesty; What Will Become of American Workers?

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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.

January 22, 2016
Supreme Court to decide on adding more
immigrant workers to sluggish U.S. economy.

When the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the Texas-led, 26-state challenge to President Obama’s deferred action, I was researching the mainstream media’s cover-up role in keeping most Americans in the dark about unchecked immigration’s unintended consequences. Under President Obama’s program, more than 4 million illegal aliens who have American citizen or legal permanent resident children could get employment authorization, Social Security numbers and welfare benefits. My long-held opinion is that if professional reporting had given fair and balanced coverage to unsustainable immigration’s downside on the environment, schools and jobs, maybe more sensible laws would be in place today, and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) would never have happened.

Mainstream media publishes thousands of words about the vanishing middle-class, income inequality and the devastating effect that decades of wage stagnation have had on American workers. Search through those hundreds of stories every week as I do, and rarely is the obvious connection made between adding 1 million work-authorized legal immigrants to the labor pool every year and the rapidly deteriorating position of American workers. Now Obama is asking the Supreme Court to give its blessing to authorizing 4 million more new workers.

But some journalists have the courage to tell the truth. I was pleasantly surprised when, and not for the first time, Robert J. Samuelson, wrote in his January 3 Washington Post opinion column that immigration is part of the solutions to averting ever-increasing income inequality. He wrote:

“Limits on unskilled immigrants, who inflate the ranks of the poor, should be enacted as part of comprehensive immigration legislation.”

Samuelson, citing a recent Pew Research Center study, wrote that “half of Hispanics have low incomes.” Indirectly, Samuelson maintained that sustained, high levels of legal immigration hurt Hispanics as well as other low-skilled, under-educated American minorities.

The simple math is inarguable. Year after year, millions of employment-authorized immigrants enter the labor pool. And, excluded from Samuelson’s column as a variable that accelerates American workers’ struggles, the federal government also issues more than 40 categories of nonimmigrant worker visas, about 750,000 annually.

Within the mainstream media, Samuelson is a rebel. In his 2006 column written while Congress fruitlessly fought over George W. Bush’s proposed amnesty, Samuelson recommended stronger border enforcement, employer sanctions and mandatory E-Verify. He also recommended eliminating guest worker programs because they “… would hurt today's poor – including other immigrants and many African Americans – by keeping wages down.”

Ten years have passed and about 10 million legal immigrants have entered the labor pool since Samuelson’s sensible 2006 column. Yet the White House and Congress still treat immigration as a sacred, autopilot policy. Now, in a ruling that could go either way, the Supreme Court holds millions of American workers’ futures in their hands.
 

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