National Voices: Immigration - Chronic job shortage no time to impose amnesty
January 16, 2014 11:55 PM | 1107 views | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A significant fact has been mostly overlooked amid the full-court press by President Obama, congressional Democrats and some Republicans for yet another extension of unemployment benefits: There are three unemployed people for every available job, according to Gene Sperling, director of Obama’s National Economic Council.

The administration argues the jobless benefits are an important lifeline for Americans who can’t find work because positions don’t exist. “Although the economy has been growing and we’ve been adding new jobs, the truth of the matter is ... that the financial crisis was so devastating that there’s still a lot of people who are struggling,” Obama said Jan. 7.

But paying them off is just a temporary solution. What they need are jobs. And Obama’s policies — demanding a higher minimum wage and imposing regulations that hurt economic growth or target whole industries — are keeping new job creation tepid, at best.

The U.S. economy added just 74,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent but that was because the labor force participation rate dropped to its lowest level since 1978. Meanwhile, the economy is still about 1.1 million jobs short of the 8.7 million lost in the Great Recession of 2008-09. Polls have consistently shown that the economy is the top concern for Americans. That explains Obama’s latest “pivot to jobs” in his promise that 2014 would be a “year of action” on the issue.

He can start by tempering his support for something that would make the labor picture even worse: His insistence on amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, an action that would flood the job market with millions more low-skilled workers at a time when there aren’t enough jobs to go around. The time to encourage immigration is when the economy is expanding, not when it is stagnating.

Of the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants, between 7 million and 8 million are believed to be employed. Most are unskilled or low-skilled. The Senate-passed immigration bill would give open access to the job market for all of them. A February 2013 study by the Center for Immigration Studies noted that amnesty would worsen the employment picture, especially for the lowest-skilled Americans.

“The contention that there is a general labor shortage that has to be satisfied by giving work authorization and/or citizenship to illegal immigrants rather than encouraging them to return to their home countries is entirely inconsistent with the available evidence,” the Center for Immigration Studies concluded in a February 2013 study on the effect of amnesty on the job market.

No one expects the illegal immigrants already here to return home, but amnesty will assuredly prompt them to stay, with or without jobs. And that simply doesn’t jibe with Obama’s desire to act to put Americans back to work. One can only hope he doesn’t promise that “if you have a job you want to keep, you can keep it. Period.”

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January 17, 2014
I have no problem with allowing "approved" illegals apply for citizenship and work toward it.

I do have a problem with granting citizenship to: their babies born here

those with criminal background

those who are here living on welfare and not contributing to society

those who came here on student visas and decided to stay

If they are here making a contribution to our society by working and obeying the law then fine let them stay for a set period of time to become a citizen, but if they fail to become a citizen within the time frame then they do need to be deported.
Lib in Cobb
January 17, 2014
I am happy to see the author state, "No one expects the illegal immigrants to return home". That is a great idea and it does not take a great deal of intelligence to understand that it is a logistical impossibility to deport 12 million people. As the author has said, the undocumented are in low skilled or un-skilled labor. It has been proven multiple times that the American worker and that includes me, won't do many of the jobs these men and women are willing to take.

Putting the undocumented here on a track to citizenship is the least expensive way to deal with this situation. When these 12 million people earn citizenship, then they will pay income tax both state and federal. If these 12 million people were to suddenly disappear the unemployment rate would be unaffected.
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