How About Real Protection for the American Worker?

In a speech given at a Labor Day rally, Hillary Clinton threatened to send American employers to jail for “wage theft” and praised President Obama for promoting “paid family leave”:

“I was very proud that President Obama said today he is going to require federal contractors to provide seven days of earned paid sick leave… And he’s going to fight for paid family leave, something that I’ve been fighting for for 30 years and we’re going to get it done.”

How about we also defend the American worker by revisiting our immigration policy and by holding American employers accountable?

worker-635755_640We summarized in an issue brief Harvard economist George Borjas’ input on how immigration affects the American worker. Look at it from a supply and demand perspective, he said: immigration’s supply of workers leads to the price of labor going down. Conversely, in sectors of the labor market that are not significantly affected by the influx of immigrant workers, the price of labor goes up. What Borjas teaches us is that the presence of low-skilled immigrant workers tends to lower the wages of American low-skilled workers. So, if we cared about the well-being of low-skilled American workers who are being hurt by additional competition, our immigration policy would be geared towards minimizing or stopping the entry of low-skilled immigrants.

We also need to be tough on employers, but not the way Mrs. Clinton suggested. We must sanction employers who employ illegal aliens. One way to do that is by making the E-Verify program mandatory nationwide. This would limit the job magnet and empower states to impose penalties against employers who break the law by hiring illegal aliens.

We at FAIR are committed to protecting the American worker, not just on Labor Day but every day. As we noted in our small guide to making a case for real immigration reform, our primary concern is the well-being of America’s native workforce—especially our most vulnerable citizens who are hurt the most by additional competition from low-skilled immigrants.

After all, stopping “wage theft” or promoting “paid family leave” does not help those who do not have a job.

Presidential Candidate Spills Democratic Party’s Secrets

Presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee is giving the Democratic Party a headache and it’s not because he has consistently been the lowest-polling contender on the right.

While speaking at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting last week, the former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator shared a little too much about why he believes Democrats support amnesty.

“We’re right on immigration, the fastest growing voting bloc in the country,” Chafee said. “Of course we want that people to be treated with respect, and to vote Democratic.”

Chafee’s statement contradicts what his party has largely claimed, that reforms to immigration policies are based on compassion and not tied to luring in government-dependent, Democratic-aligned individuals by the millions.

Watch the video for yourself and share your opinion in the comments section below.

 

How Democrats Can Achieve Three Top Priorities – Blog 2

Democrats have outlined three defining challenges of our time: Income Inequality, Climate Change, and Civil Rights.  If they were truly interested in addressing these three issues, they need to rethink their position on immigration. Immigration alone has an order of magnitude greater impact on these issues than any current or proposed government program or policy. Democrats need to have an honest discussion on immigration, analyze the facts and data, and adopt policies that lift up all Americans.

In the second of three blogs, I will address the nexus between immigration and climate change.

Climate Change

While Climate Change is hyper-politicized, I think we can all agree that burning tons of fossil fuels is not good for the environment.  President Obama recently launched the latest round of Climate Change plans and actions to use the EPA and others to restrict coal plants, invest in renewable energy, and push for more fuel-efficient vehicles.  Combating climate change is all about reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The U.S. has one of the largest CO2 emissions per capita, from heating and powering our homes and businesses, personal and commercial driving, and consumption of food, goods, and services. A majority of immigrants to the U.S. come from nations with a fraction of per capita CO2 emissions.  The U.S. emits five times the amount of CO2 per person as Mexico and over 8000% more per person than Haiti.  To put that in context 536,000 Haitians would emit 115,000 tons of CO2, whereas the same number of people in the U.S. would emit nearly 9.5 million tons.  The table below shows the CO2 emissions per capita of the top 10 countries of origin for U.S. immigrants and the percentage increase.

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In 1970, the U.S. population was just over 200 million.  Today it is 321 million.  By 2050 the U.S. is projected to exceed 436 million. Immigrants and their descendants drive most of the growth.  To combat climate change, Democrats have proposed a wide-array of solutions to reduce carbon emissions by 10-30% over the next 20-30 years. The proposed solutions come at potentially considerable economic and social cost to achieve their goals.  Yet over the last 38 years, the U.S. population grew by over 100 million people and will do it again in the next 35 years.

Even if Democrats were successful in implementing the most aggressive climate change solutions, 100 million more people increasing their CO2 emissions by over 500% would dwarf any progress made. If the U.S. reduced the number of immigrants each year, the data clearly shows the Earth would be healthier.

In the first of three blogs I addressed the nexus between immigration and income inequality. A coming blog will look at immigration and civil rights.

The author of this guest opinion is a federal policy analyst.

How Democrats Can Achieve Three Top Priorities – Blog 1

Democrats have outlined three defining challenges of our time: Income Inequality, Climate Change, and Civil Rights.  If they were truly interested in addressing these three issues, they need to rethink their position on immigration. Immigration alone has an order of magnitude greater impact on these issues than any current or proposed government program or policy. Democrats need to have an honest discussion on immigration, analyze the facts and data, and adopt policies that lift up all Americans.

In the first of three blogs, I will address the nexus between immigration and income inequality.

Income Inequality

While Income Inequality focuses on the difference between the incomes of the rich and poor, it is really two separate issues.  On the low end, we have tens of millions of Americans unemployed and underemployed, while wages have declined for the poor and middle class.  On the high end, we have many who are super wealthy abusing the system to compound their wealth via immoral or illegal actions.  Legal and illegal immigration has a considerable impact on income inequality at both ends.

Hillary Clinton called raising incomes for everyday Americans, the defining economic issue of our time.  She includes on her campaign site the following graph, which shows since the mid-1960s productivity increases considerably, but wages have been flat.

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It is worth noting the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 radically changed the U.S. immigration policies. At the point where the lines on the graph diverge, the U.S. went from issuing 250,000 visas each year to over 1 million.  Today there are over 40 million legal immigrants and over 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S.  Government data shows one in six people employed in the U.S. today is foreign-born.  President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez stresses,The best way to lift wages is with tighter labor markets.” FAIR analysis shows immigration reduces American wages by as much as $400 billion each year. A recent United Way study found California has the highest percentage of poor people in the U.S. with one in three not having enough income to make ends meet. While 25% of U.S. citizens lack sufficient income, the situation is worse for foreign-born (45%), non-citizens (60%), and worst for Latino, non-citizens (80%).  California’s immigration policies have clearly accelerated income inequality.

To illustrate the issue for how the rich get richer, consider three competing local businesses in the same market.

  • Company A employs American workers and pays them a competitive wage and benefits (including Obamacare).
  • Company B uses mostly legal immigrants and guest workers, pays them minimum wage or below average wages and limited benefits.
  • Company C employs mostly illegal immigrants, paying them the lowest wages, often via cash with no benefits.

The differences in labor costs can easily be 25-50% or more. That enables the owners of Companies B and C to rake in higher profits and personal income. It also enables them to undercut the prices of Company A to capture more market share.  Company A over time will see their business decline and need to control labor costs or go out of business.  They will stop hiring, cut hours of staff, minimize or delay raises, and ask for higher employee contributions to rising healthcare costs.  This situation is not limited to the blue-collars jobs in construction, agriculture, and housekeeping, but for white-collar jobs too.  Billionaire led, Fortune 100 companies from Facebook to Disney have abused H-1B visa programs to import labor at lower costs. Disney recently laid off 250 American programmers and replaced them with immigrants.  What was even worse, Disney held their severance packages hostage unless they trained their replacements and prohibited them from discussing the betrayal publicly.

Senator Bernie Sanders passionately advocates, “The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral, economic, and political issue of our time.”  He notes there is something profoundly wrong when millions of Americans work longer hours for lower wages and we have the highest childhood poverty rate of any developed country on earth.  As part of his solutions, he calls for increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. Yet by significantly increases the wages (and thus costs) of American workers, businesses will be further incentivized to import cheaper immigrant labor.

Democrats who seek to address income inequality should ask themselves:

  • With over 17 million unemployed and underemployed Americans today, does the U.S. really need 1 million new legal immigrants each year?
  • Why should wealthy business owners benefit by importing cheap labor at the expense of American workers?
  • Should the U.S. tighten its labor markets for a few years until American wages improve?

In the coming days I will address how immigration policy affects climate change and civil rights.

The author of this guest opinion is a federal policy analyst.

Each of These 16 States Spend Billions on Illegal Immigrants

Illegal aliens and their dependent children cost taxpayers $100 billion annually, according to a 2010 study by FAIR. Sixteen of the 50 states spend between $1 and $20 billion every year.

Although illegal aliens pay some taxes, including state taxes on eligible purchases, the costs to federal and state governments are far greater than the taxes collected from them.

State and federal money that could be used for other public priorities or returned to taxpayers is used to fund college financial aid, healthcare, justice and law enforcement, public benefits and schooling for individuals illegally residing in the U.S.

States with higher illegal immigrant populations typically see a higher net cost. Some states bear a heavier fiscal burden than others, like states neighboring the southern border and non-border states with sanctuary city policies.

See if your state is one of the 16 to spend more than $1 billion per year on illegal aliens. Go to page 81 of our cost study or click on the map:

US_map_-_states