Mike Scruggs

The brutal statistics of naive immigration policies

April 2012,

By Mike Scruggs-

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has two measures of the national employment situation. The measure most familiar to Americans is the unemployment rate based primarily on business surveys and government statistics. The standard or “U-3 unemployment rate,” in this survey, however, does not count those who have been looking for employment for over 12 months or those forced by economic causes to part-time work. Not counting these two important categories conveniently masks serious economic problems. The U-3 unemployment rate in March was 8.2 percent. The broader U-6 rate, which includes the longer-term unemployed and those forced to part-time, was 14.5 percent. The second BLS method of measuring employment status is called the Household Survey. It measures the civilian labor force, full-time employment, and that part of the civilian population, which is not included in the labor force. The Household Survey has proved to be an invaluable analytical tool and has documented some distressing aspects of our national policies over the last 20 years. Liberal pundits were pleased to revel in the drop of the U-3 unemployment rate from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent in the March BLS statistics, even though the number of new jobs created dropped to 120,000 from 200,000 per month for several previous months. This curious phenomenon was a result of the decline of the labor participation rate. The March Household Survey revealed that over 1.5 million workers dropped out of the workforce between March 2011 and March 2012. Furthermore, the Household Survey showed that seasonally adjusted employment actually declined by 31,000 in March. This is a dismal statistic, but there is even further cause for concern. In March, foreign-born employment rose by 194,000, while native-born employment declined by 225,000. This reflects national immigration policies gone mad. Unfortunately, this is not a one-month statistical quirk. From January 2009, the month Barack Obama was inaugurated President, through March 2012, immigrant employment has risen 5.7 percent, and native-employment has declined 1.2 percent. In raw numbers, foreign job seekers took 1.4 million jobs, and native-employment declined by 1.55 million. There are other demographic factors gradually shrinking the U.S workforce—an aging native population and declining birth rates—but these factors do not account for the magnitude of this data. It is unequivocally clear that both illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration are displacing several hundred thousand American workers per year. In fairness, to President Obama, we must admit that this sad misdirection of immigration policy was also very true of George W. Bush, under whom the enforcement of immigration laws at the workplace saw a marked decline. Obama, however, overshadows Bush in the boldness of his non-enforcement efforts and future plans. The United States needs immigration policies that are good for American workers as well as the American economy and the general welfare of American business. Its current polices ignore American workers in order to provide ready cheap labor to some American industries whose financial contributions to political campaigns have sustained a very uneven balance of power weighted against American workers, many small businesses, and middle class taxpayers. American workers are not only being displaced, but competition with cheap imported labor has been holding their wages and standard of living down for at least two decades. The net annual impact on American workers has accumulated to well over $200 billion per year. The fiscal cost of illegal immigration is over $100 billion per year, mostly paid by state and local governments. Most Republicans are now beginning to recognize the human and fiscal costs of two decades of thoughtless immigration polices that favored a minority of powerful business interests and the Democrat Party. California was once a predominantly Republican state. Ronald Reagan was governor from 1967 to 1975. Now it is an impregnable liberal Democrat bastion, one of the consequences of naïve accommodation to business and ethnic special interests. I still hear a few Republican candidates make incredibly naïve or manipulative accommodations to terrible immigration policy including amnesty. One candidate told a crowd that “since we could not possibly deport 11 million illegal immigrants,” we should simply “document them to know who is here.” First of all, the idea that we must either round up 11 million illegals and deport them in some brutal manner or grant them amnesty is a false and manipulative dilemma. Preventing the hiring of illegal workers by requiring verification of their immigration status and enforcing the law will send most of them home at their own expense and drastically reduce the number coming here in the future. But simply “documenting” the illegals here is just another form of amnesty practically identical to Barack Obama’s “Administrative Registration.” Amnesty in any form or by any name is the worst and most costly and irreversible mistake America can make—we should have learned this from previous amnesties. Establishing a good “guest-worker” system is a frequent naïve proposal unfettered to historical facts. We have thus far in history never had a guest-worker system that did not hurt American workers and taxpayers. They have all displaced American workers and suppressed the wages of those left. They actually increase illegal immigration. They have essentially subsidized selected industries at public expense. In 1997, after several years of thorough study, the Joint Congressional Commission on Immigration Reform rejected the idea of a large national guest-worker program as “a grievous mistake.” Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, a distinguished member of the committee, carefully explained to the Senate and House Immigration Committees that while guest-worker programs have a seductive superficial plausibility, “we were persuaded after much study, that it would be a mistake to launch such a program.” Reverend Hesburgh summarized his remarks on a guest-worker program with this conclusion: “We do not think it wise to propose a program with potentially harmful consequences to the United States as a whole.”


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