WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With his own job approval rating hitting a new low, and Election Day just 14 months off, President Obama tonight addressed the issue that most concerns Americans: the lack of jobs for millions of Americans who need them. In his speech to Congress and the American public, the President unveiled a host of proposals and incentives designed to spur job creation. What he consciously failed to address is the impact legal and illegal immigration are having on the U.S. workforce. Millions of existing jobs are currently filled by illegal aliens and record numbers of legal aliens at a time when our economy is creating zero net new jobs, charged the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Some 7 million U.S. jobs are estimated to be held by illegal aliens. The vast majority of those jobs would be filled by legal U.S. workers if the government were enforcing laws against both employers and illegal workers. However, instead of freeing up these jobs through enforcement, the administration recently announced plans to administratively grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, which will include providing work authorization to those whose deportation cases are dismissed.
"There is a huge pool of existing jobs, most of which would be filled by American workers, that could be opened up," observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "However, for narrow political and ideological reasons, President Obama refuses to enforce many immigration laws and is looking for ways to allow illegal aliens to compete legally for available jobs. Frankly, given the President's immigration policies, there is no assurance that any of the jobs that might be created as a result of the new initiatives would even go to American workers."
In addition to the administration's refusal to enforce laws against people who are living and working in the U.S. illegally, Congress also bears culpability for refusing to reduce the massive flow of legal immigration – about 1.1 million annually. "Economists estimate that our economy needs to create about 125,000 new jobs each month just to keep pace with labor force growth, most of it driven by immigration," Stein noted. "Reducing legal immigration to more sustainable levels is the obvious first step to create a better balance between the supply of labor and the demand for jobs."
Large-scale guest worker programs, that admit hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals each year to fill skilled and unskilled U.S. jobs, pose additional challenges for Americans seeking work. "Neither the President nor Congress seem prepared to stand-up to powerful business lobbies which prefer to recruit workers from overseas instead of making those jobs available and attractive to American workers," said Stein.
Among the important immigration-related policy proposals that would enhance job prospects for unemployed and under-employed Americans:
- Mandatory use of E-Verify by all U.S. employers to ensure they have a reliable and effective way to screen out illegal workers.
- Stepped-up enforcement against businesses that employ illegal aliens and removal of workers found to be in the country illegally.
- Sharp reductions in the admission of foreign guest workers in both skilled and low-skilled sectors of the labor market.
- Elimination of the employer tax deduction for workers who are not legally authorized to work in the United States.
"Tackling rampant illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration will not serve as a panacea for our nation's unemployment problems," acknowledged Stein. "However, common sense reforms and enforcement would offer substantial benefits to millions of Americans who are seeking jobs. The President's failure to address these issues demonstrates that his administration has resolved to put the interests of the open borders lobby before the needs of American workers," Stein concluded.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.