Thursday, May 11, 2006

Immigration is back - My Submitted Editorial

Dear Editor,

Do illegal immigrants do jobs Americans won’t and do they help our economy? Two good questions, but who knows, do you? Where does your information come from? Is it based on data or what you heard or read? According to Steven Camarota, Research Director for the Center of Immigration Studies:

The economic recovery has not helped less educated workers, why? Occupations with highest immigrant participation have 22 million Americans in the same occupations. There are 14 million less educated Americans in heavily immigrant occupations. If there were jobs Americans would not perform, then there would be few Americans in these occupations. The Department of Labor and Commerce track 473 specific occupations. There was no majority occupation that immigrants do that Americans do not. If there were, it would show up as 80% to 90% of an occupation being immigrant. There are 35 occupations where immigrants make up nearly 1/3 of the workers but these occupations represent just 7% of the total U.S. Workforce. These 35 occupations have 5 million Americans employed.

½ the American born drops outs and 1/3 of the Americans with only a high school education are in occupations that have 15% immigrants. American workers face significant competition in construction, cab drivers, nannies, maids and housekeepers where most are American. Those who hold the position immigrants perform jobs that Americans won’t tend to be better educated and more affluent Americans.

States with largest share of immigrant workers saw the largest decline (5% locally and 3% nationally) in less educated American employment. Less educated Americans left the workforce in greater percentages in states with highest immigration. Occupations with most immigrants have highest unemployment among Americans. Immigrants make less, but only due to less education, not job skill.

The 1980 amnesty of illegals saw wages increase by 5%. This means the penalty in terms of wages for being illegal is about 5%. The increase in supply of workers lowers: Benefits, Wages and Working conditions.

The perception is the U.S. is in need of less educated workers, which is not true. In 2005 there were 4 million American’s unemployed and 19 million who stopped looking for work. The U.S. does not have a 5% unemployment rate, but this rate is used to support immigration. Unemployment among less educated Americans is up 11% and 13% for dropouts. They already have the highest unemployment rate, lowest wage rate and employment participation among less educated has declined dramatically. They took the poorest workers and made them poorer. Less educated immigrants and less educated Americans do the same kinds of work. There is no such thing as a job a American will not do. Allowing legal status to illegals has enormous implications for America’s poorest workers. America is not short of less educated workers given the high unemployment rate and the high number of less educated workers who have stopped looking.


William Larsen


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