- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2020

The unemployment rate among immigrants has soared 320% during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies that suggests they’re having just as tough a time finding jobs as native-born Americans.

Nearly 20% of illegal immigrants were unemployed last month, and more than 15% of legal immigrants were also searching for jobs. By contrast, the unemployment rate among native-born Americans was just 14%.

Steven A. Camarota, a demographer who conducted the research, said the numbers undercut the Trump administration’s case for bringing in more foreign workers right now.

“The continued admission of new permanent residents and guest workers based on the idea that there is a labor shortage totally lacks validity,” Mr. Camarota said.

Immigrants — both legal and illegal — had actually had lower unemployment, at 3.6%, than the native-born, at 3.8%, in February. By April, though, the rate among immigrants surged to 16.4%, outstripping the 14% rate for native-born Americans.



That works out to 4.3 million unemployed immigrants seeking jobs, and the less education they have, the more likely they are to be unemployed, according to the numbers.

When broken down by legal status, illegal immigrants had a 19.3% unemployment rate, while legal immigrants’ rate was 15.6%. Those estimates are approximate, the researchers said.

President Trump has ordered a partial “pause” on some new immigration to the U.S., blocking a few tens of thousands of newcomers a month.

But he has not paused any of the temporary-worker programs that account for a far higher number of workers that compete for jobs here.

He did ask his advisors to report back later this month with recommendations on whether to impose new limits.

Mr. Camarota said his data makes a clear case for broadening the pause.

“With 18.2 million natives and 4.3 million immigrants unemployed, and millions more having given up even looking for work, it is impossible to justify high levels of foreign workers in the United States,” he said.

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