SIMMONS: Immigrant bill hinders Americans seeking jobs

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you are out of a job or keeping toes and fingers crossed that a dear one will soon be making enough money to bring home the bacon, this heads-up is for you.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


The immigration bill that could hit the floor of the Senate any day now could cost Americans jobs by nearly doubling the number of guest workers allowed into the country.

The bill, spearheaded by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, would strike the unemployed and underemployed especially hard, but the bottom line is that pathways to citizenship could lead to roads that further displace American workers.

“If it passes, the Schumer-Rubio bill could wreak havoc in U.S. labor markets, and shut out even more Americans from job opportunities, especially minorities, whether in [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields, agriculture, construction or health care,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which summed up the job displacement issue in a new report Wednesday. “Most of these temporary-worker increases are just gratuitous and have no economic justification whatsoever.”

Here’s something else for those who have to substitute a hunk of streak o’ lean for costlier (and healthier) chicken breast to go along with a pot of collards.

“Many studies have shown that black Americans are disproportionately harmed by mass immigration and amnesty. Most policymakers who favor the legalization of nearly 11 million aliens fail to acknowledge that decades of high immigration levels has caused unemployment to rise significantly, most particularly among black Americans,” Leah V. Durant, executive director of the D.C.-based nonprofit Progressives for Immigration Reform, and other members of the Black American Leadership Alliance write in a recent letter to members of Congress.

“They further fail to consider how current plans to add 33 million more legal workers within 10 years will have an enormously disastrous effect on our nation’s jobs outlook.”

And there’s more: “Many blacks compete with immigrants, particularly illegal immigrants, for low skilled jobs due to skill level and geography, and there are simply not enough of these jobs to go around. Consider the fact that nearly 51% of African Americans do not have a higher education. In 2011, 24.6% of blacks without a high school diploma were unemployed. Even blacks with a high school diploma were unemployed at a rate of 15.5% that same year. Passing legislation to add additional workers to an already swamped labor market will only exacerbate these statistics.”

Ms. Durant’s group and the Center for Immigration Studies are pointing up concerns that seem to be lost on Mr. Schumer, Mr. Rubio and other senators — and, quite frankly, our president — who fail to see the potential agony that could befall Americans and immigrants who came through the front door legally if illegals and masses of immigrants are granted guest-worker status.

And know what?

It doesn’t matter whether those temporary workers are from Northern Ireland, the South Seas or south of the U.S. border.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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