Mike Scruggs

Who wants higher immigration levels? Follow the money


Mike Scruggs-According to a November 2009 Zogby poll for the Center for Immigration Studies, 67 percent of likely voters believe immigration levels are too high. This result is a glaring reality that many politicians choose to ignore. In addition to over 500,000 illegal immigrants per year, more than 1,000,000 legal immigrants are admitted. The total immigration level of 1,500,000 per year is five-times the pre-amnesty 1986 level of less than 300,000 per year. According to Harvard labor economist George Borjas, the maximum immigration the United States can assimilate without disrupting the social and economic fabric of its people is about 500,000 per year.

As I have stated in many previous articles, excessive immigration levels (legal or illegal) are displacing American workers and depressing their wages. The taxpayers, especially at the state and local level, are picking up the tab for increased education, healthcare, welfare, and law enforcement costs. This does not count the human costs of increasing crime, drug trafficking (especially methamphetamine), and DUI auto accidents associated with high levels of illegal immigration.

Who is it then that supports amnesty and higher immigration levels?

The wage and job displacement aspects of excessive immigration fall hardest on the poor and minorities. Yet most ethnic advocacy group leaders continue to favor amnesty and increased legal immigration and oppose strict enforcement of current immigration laws. This is in sharp contrast to what most minority voters actually want.

Fifty-six percent of likely Hispanic voters say that immigration levels are too high. Only seven percent say they are too low. Sixty-five percent of them believe there are plenty of American workers available to do unskilled jobs. Only 15 percent of them believe legal immigration should be increased. Only 20 percent of them believe illegal immigration is caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants. Sixty-one percent say it is lack of enforcement.

African-Americans have suffered the most from excessive immigration levels. The July 2013 official U-3 unemployment rate for black men was 12.6 percent, almost twice the overall national rate of 7.4 percent. Sixty-eight percent of African-Americans believe immigration levels are too high. Only four percent say they are too low. Eighty-one percent say there are plenty of Americans available to do unskilled work, and only six percent disagree. Seventy percent believe inadequate enforcement of immigration laws is the main cause of illegal immigration.

The same Zogby poll revealed that most American business executives and small business owners oppose amnesty and increased immigration and support the enforcement of immigration laws. Eighty-seven percent of business executives and 89 percent of small business owners favor reducing the illegal immigrant population over time by enforcing immigration laws such as requiring employers to verify the legal status of workers, increasing border security, and encouraging more federal cooperation with local law enforcement.

Sixty-one percent of business executives, 65 percent of small business owners, and 72 percent of Union households believe there is plenty of American labor available to do unskilled jobs. Seventy-one percent of all likely voters agree, and only eleven percent disagree. Sixty-three percent of business executives, 70 percent of small business owners, and 63 percent of Union households believe immigration levels are too high.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Restaurant Association, however, are among the most prominent of business lobby groups to endorse legalization (amnesty) and increased legal immigration. Other cheap-labor and open-border lobbies prefer to remain less visible. In contrast, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the largest small business organization in the country, strongly opposes amnesty and increased immigration levels. Most small business people are not only patriotic, they are getting hurt by their competitors who use cheap foreign labor, pay no benefits, and pay little attention to safety standards.

The July 2013 BLS report showed 11.5 million Americans are unemployed under the U-3 definition, but this does not count long-term unemployment of workers who have become too discouraged to actively seek a job and those forced from full-time to part-time work. These are included in the broader U-6 definition showing 21.8 million American workers, 14.0 percent, want a full time job and cannot find one. Yet Republican Senators Graham (SC), Rubio (FL) and McCain (AZ), and former deficit hawk Rep. Ryan (WI) are claiming on radio ads and talk shows that there is a labor shortage. The bill they back would give amnesty to 11.5 million unlawful immigrants and bring another 33 million foreign workers to the U.S. in the next decade. It would increase guest-worker authorizations from about 900,000 per year to 2 to 3 million. If passed, happy days will not be here again for American workers and their families. According to Borjas, the employers of cheap foreign labor are already profiting $435 billion per year at their expense, about $2,800 per year per American worker.

According to a study on the cost of illegal immigration and amnesty by the Heritage Foundation, the average illegal immigrant household receives $14, 387 more in government services and benefits than taxes paid. This is because of their low education and skill levels. Amnesty runs that figure well over $23,000 annually due to higher government benefits paid. These figures also approximate the cost of unskilled legal immigrants and guest workers.

What sort of moral and economic blindness promotes almost unlimited importation of cheap labor at the expense of American workers, taxpayers, and national solvency?

To paraphrase the English Puritan minister and theologian, Thomas Manton (1620-1677), in modern English:

“The greed for unwarranted gain and power deadens the feelings and centers a man’s affections only on himself. When illegitimate desire once holds the heart, it shuts out all other considerations but those that promote its own view. In its zeal for attainment it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern right from wrong. It takes evil for good and calls darkness light.”

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