Mass Immigration versus the Rights of American Workers

Senator Chuck Schumer, the real leader of the "Gang of 8," recently said,

This has the potential for being one of the greatest civil rights movements we've ever seen. I could see, at the end of this summer, a million people on the Mall in August asking for the bill.

The comparison of the civil rights movement to illegal aliens seeking amnesty is ludicrous and offensive. Blacks were brought to this land in chains and denied equal rights for centuries. They were not immigrants, legal or otherwise. The illegal aliens are in our streets, not in the shadows, and willingly entered this country and knowingly violated our laws in multiple ways. Now they are demanding that their crimes be rewarded by having their status legalized, including an immediate work permit and a path to citizenship. Despite this egregious comparison, Schumer may have inadvertently stumbled onto the real civil rights issue of our time -- mass immigration versus the rights of American workers.

Since 1965, our immigration policies have engendered one of the greatest mass migrations of people in the shortest period of time in human history. The U.S. adds one international migrant (net) every 44 seconds. Immigrants account for one in 8 U.S. residents, the highest level in almost 90 years. In 1970 it was one in 21. In less than a decade, it will be one in 7, the highest it has been in our history.

The nation's immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record-setting 40 million in 2010. If the foreign-born population were a nation, it would be the 33rd largest in the world, just behind Argentina and ahead of Poland. The U.S. immigrant population has quadrupled since 1970, when it stood at 9.7 million. Of the 40 million immigrants in the country in 2010, 13.9 million arrived in 2000 or later making it the highest decade of immigration in American history, even though there was a net loss of jobs during the same period. Our pro-population growth immigration policies have fueled more than three-quarters of our population increase from 203 million in 1970 to 316 million today. The U.S. population will increase another estimated 105 million by 2060 to 420 million.

Ninety years ago when the ratio of the foreign born to the native population was about the same as it is today, i.e., one out of 8, the country reached a consensus that immigration had to be reduced. Politicians, business leaders, labor unions, immigrants, and the public were in general agreement, which culminated in the Immigration Act of 1924. The level of immigration remained fairly constant for the next 40 years, i.e., between 250,000 to 300,000 a year.

The Immigration Act of 1965 and subsequent legislation raised the levels up to 1.2 million a year, more than the rest of the world combined in terms of legal immigration, and changed the demographics of the country forever. Immigration is now primarily from the developing world as opposed to Europe and legal immigrants are predominantly minorities as defined by the U.S. government, which entitles them to special benefits like affirmative action and minority business set asides. This reinforces and incentivizes group identification rather than assimilation.

Since 1969 the real wages of male American workers have declined according to a study by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney.

Over the past 40 years, a period in which U.S. GDP per capita more than doubled after adjusting for inflation, the annual earnings ofthe median prime-aged male has actually fallen by 28 percent. Indeed, males at the middle of the wage distribution now earn about the same as their counterparts in the 1950s! This decline reflects both stagnant wages for men on the job, and the fact that, compared with 1969, three times as many men of working age don't work at all.

The most astonishing statistic contained in the study is that for men without a high school degree, "The median earnings of all men in this category have declined by 66 percent [not a misprint]. At the same time, this group has experienced a 23 percentage point decline in the probability of having any labor-market earnings." Men with just a high school degree have not fared much better with a 43 percent decline in earnings.

If we truly had a labor shortage, why aren't wages going up along with increased participation in the labor force? The answer is obvious. When you increase significantly the supply of labor above the demand for jobs, wages go down along with participation. The marketplace works for the bottom line of businesses. But it does not work for the American worker who is not competing on a level playing field. Our immigration policies are importing annually hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers, which affect mainly Americans with a high school degree or less.

Moreover, as a letter from three members of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights documents, an amnesty will "likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wageswhen they do obtain employment."

The U.S. government is systematically violating the rights of American workers by importing millions of foreign workers without any correlation to the nation's job needs. This results in job loss and wage depression for American citizens. The government compounds the problem by not securing our borders and not enforcing our existing laws. The Obama administration has gone even further by enacting an unconstitutional backdoor amnesty for the so-called Dreamers, including giving them work permits.

The McRubio-Schumer amnesty bill is a product of special interests. It will increase legal immigration massively over the next decade to 33 million, more than the previous 40 years combined, and it will double the number of guest workers entering annually. The "Masters of the Universe" who support this bill claim it will be a boon to the economy and jobs. The reality of the past 14 years tells us otherwise, i.e., the economy is in the doldrums and scarce jobs are going to immigrants.

The overall size of the working-age native-born population increased by 16.4 million from 2000 to 2013, yet the number of natives actually holding a job was 1.3 million lower in 2013 than 2000.

The total number of working-age immigrants (legal and illegal) increased 8.8 million and the number working rose 5.3 million between 2000 and 2013.

Motivated by parochial self-interest, the pro-mass immigration, open borders amnesty advocates have formed a powerful coalition including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor union leaders, religious, ethnic, and racial groups, "moderate" Republicans, and the Democrat Party. The common thread that unites these groups is power, money, and the prospect of increased constituencies, even at the expense of our long-term national interests and survival. This cabal is more interested in promoting the "rights" of foreign workers, legal and illegal, than they are in protecting the jobs of their fellow citizens.

We are now mired in 54 straight months of more than 7.5 percent unemployment, the "longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started calculating the national unemployment rate." And it is the slowest recovery of any post-WWII recession with 20 million Americans unemployed or underemployed. A massive infusion of foreign workers will exacerbate the situation in much the same way as the Obama stimulus impacted our debt and deficit problem.

The people in the streets should be American workers, not illegal aliens. The DC March for Jobs was the opening salvo in a titanic struggle between the ruling class and the people. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance.

Michael McLaughlin is Vice President of the American Council for Immigration Reform.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the real leader of the "Gang of 8," recently said,

This has the potential for being one of the greatest civil rights movements we've ever seen. I could see, at the end of this summer, a million people on the Mall in August asking for the bill.

The comparison of the civil rights movement to illegal aliens seeking amnesty is ludicrous and offensive. Blacks were brought to this land in chains and denied equal rights for centuries. They were not immigrants, legal or otherwise. The illegal aliens are in our streets, not in the shadows, and willingly entered this country and knowingly violated our laws in multiple ways. Now they are demanding that their crimes be rewarded by having their status legalized, including an immediate work permit and a path to citizenship. Despite this egregious comparison, Schumer may have inadvertently stumbled onto the real civil rights issue of our time -- mass immigration versus the rights of American workers.

Since 1965, our immigration policies have engendered one of the greatest mass migrations of people in the shortest period of time in human history. The U.S. adds one international migrant (net) every 44 seconds. Immigrants account for one in 8 U.S. residents, the highest level in almost 90 years. In 1970 it was one in 21. In less than a decade, it will be one in 7, the highest it has been in our history.

The nation's immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record-setting 40 million in 2010. If the foreign-born population were a nation, it would be the 33rd largest in the world, just behind Argentina and ahead of Poland. The U.S. immigrant population has quadrupled since 1970, when it stood at 9.7 million. Of the 40 million immigrants in the country in 2010, 13.9 million arrived in 2000 or later making it the highest decade of immigration in American history, even though there was a net loss of jobs during the same period. Our pro-population growth immigration policies have fueled more than three-quarters of our population increase from 203 million in 1970 to 316 million today. The U.S. population will increase another estimated 105 million by 2060 to 420 million.

Ninety years ago when the ratio of the foreign born to the native population was about the same as it is today, i.e., one out of 8, the country reached a consensus that immigration had to be reduced. Politicians, business leaders, labor unions, immigrants, and the public were in general agreement, which culminated in the Immigration Act of 1924. The level of immigration remained fairly constant for the next 40 years, i.e., between 250,000 to 300,000 a year.

The Immigration Act of 1965 and subsequent legislation raised the levels up to 1.2 million a year, more than the rest of the world combined in terms of legal immigration, and changed the demographics of the country forever. Immigration is now primarily from the developing world as opposed to Europe and legal immigrants are predominantly minorities as defined by the U.S. government, which entitles them to special benefits like affirmative action and minority business set asides. This reinforces and incentivizes group identification rather than assimilation.

Since 1969 the real wages of male American workers have declined according to a study by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney.

Over the past 40 years, a period in which U.S. GDP per capita more than doubled after adjusting for inflation, the annual earnings ofthe median prime-aged male has actually fallen by 28 percent. Indeed, males at the middle of the wage distribution now earn about the same as their counterparts in the 1950s! This decline reflects both stagnant wages for men on the job, and the fact that, compared with 1969, three times as many men of working age don't work at all.

The most astonishing statistic contained in the study is that for men without a high school degree, "The median earnings of all men in this category have declined by 66 percent [not a misprint]. At the same time, this group has experienced a 23 percentage point decline in the probability of having any labor-market earnings." Men with just a high school degree have not fared much better with a 43 percent decline in earnings.

If we truly had a labor shortage, why aren't wages going up along with increased participation in the labor force? The answer is obvious. When you increase significantly the supply of labor above the demand for jobs, wages go down along with participation. The marketplace works for the bottom line of businesses. But it does not work for the American worker who is not competing on a level playing field. Our immigration policies are importing annually hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers, which affect mainly Americans with a high school degree or less.

Moreover, as a letter from three members of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights documents, an amnesty will "likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wageswhen they do obtain employment."

The U.S. government is systematically violating the rights of American workers by importing millions of foreign workers without any correlation to the nation's job needs. This results in job loss and wage depression for American citizens. The government compounds the problem by not securing our borders and not enforcing our existing laws. The Obama administration has gone even further by enacting an unconstitutional backdoor amnesty for the so-called Dreamers, including giving them work permits.

The McRubio-Schumer amnesty bill is a product of special interests. It will increase legal immigration massively over the next decade to 33 million, more than the previous 40 years combined, and it will double the number of guest workers entering annually. The "Masters of the Universe" who support this bill claim it will be a boon to the economy and jobs. The reality of the past 14 years tells us otherwise, i.e., the economy is in the doldrums and scarce jobs are going to immigrants.

The overall size of the working-age native-born population increased by 16.4 million from 2000 to 2013, yet the number of natives actually holding a job was 1.3 million lower in 2013 than 2000.

The total number of working-age immigrants (legal and illegal) increased 8.8 million and the number working rose 5.3 million between 2000 and 2013.

Motivated by parochial self-interest, the pro-mass immigration, open borders amnesty advocates have formed a powerful coalition including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor union leaders, religious, ethnic, and racial groups, "moderate" Republicans, and the Democrat Party. The common thread that unites these groups is power, money, and the prospect of increased constituencies, even at the expense of our long-term national interests and survival. This cabal is more interested in promoting the "rights" of foreign workers, legal and illegal, than they are in protecting the jobs of their fellow citizens.

We are now mired in 54 straight months of more than 7.5 percent unemployment, the "longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started calculating the national unemployment rate." And it is the slowest recovery of any post-WWII recession with 20 million Americans unemployed or underemployed. A massive infusion of foreign workers will exacerbate the situation in much the same way as the Obama stimulus impacted our debt and deficit problem.

The people in the streets should be American workers, not illegal aliens. The DC March for Jobs was the opening salvo in a titanic struggle between the ruling class and the people. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance.

Michael McLaughlin is Vice President of the American Council for Immigration Reform.