Pres. Obama supposedly got into hot water with disabled Americans last week when he made a joke about his bowling skills and Special Olympics to Jay Leno. But his true insult to the handicapped was his insistence last week on keeping 7 million jobs (currently held by illegal aliens) out of reach. The first-ever official unemployment rate report on the disabled tells the story (and my handicapped wife has a story, too) . . .
American adults with physical handicaps are among the worst victims of the federal government's insistence on importing 138,000 new foreign workers each month -- and of Pres. Obama's and congressional leadership's continued pressure for an amnesty to allow an estimated 7 million illegal aliens to permanently keep U.S. jobs.
Official unemployment for disabled Americans stands at 13.2%.
The government reported that was 59% higher than the official unemployment rate for non-disabled Americans for the same period.
You can be sure that the 13.2% gravely underestimates the lack of employment opportunities for the handicapped because that only counts the handicapped who are actively looking for a job and can't find one. The majority of all Americans who don't have a job are not counted in the unemployment figures because they have left the labor force entirely, either willingly or because of discouragement. You can imagine how much more quickly a person with disabilities loses the will and energy to continue futilely seeking a job and, thus, stops being counted as unemployed.
When the New York Times or the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops or any of dozens of nationally prominent leaders cry out for amnesty, they are stating their preference for hiring illegal foreign workers over disabled Americans.
A PERSONAL DISABILITY STORY
My wife Shirley has been handicapped since she had an onset of multiple sclerosis in 1974.
Shirley is fortunate to have had a good education (University of Missouri) and profession (physical therapy). As the disease took away her ability to walk and many other things, she put in an elevator and created a clinic in our home and downsized most of her patients (treating mainly babies and children). Through use of ingenuity, mechanical devices, incredible will and often the assistance of patients' family, she continues to run a bustling pediatric therapy practice.
But even physical therapists aren't immune from being undermined by immigration policies. Nearly every year, various Members of Congress fight to import larger quantities of foreign physical therapists rather than support expansion of U.S. PT schools to train the long backlogs of American students who are desperate to learn the profession.
My main point, however, is not about Shirley, but about her patients.
Anybody can have a child born with a disability.
When you look into the faces of the parents of Shirley's patients -- when you see the arduous devotion required of them to help their children achieve levels of self-sufficiency and personal fulfillment -- you know that one of the most important goals for the end of the long effort into adulthood needs to be . . .
. . . a job.
A certain percentage of these disabled members of our national community will be fortunate like Shirley and be able to compete at a professional level. But a disproportionate number of them will need more routine jobs. Many of those jobs are disproportionately held by foreign workers -- especially illegal aliens at clerk stations, in the parking garage booths, in myriad tasks that do not require much mobility.
Last week, Pres. Obama promised full inclusiveness for disabled Americans and also promised that he will work diligently this very year to keep an estimated 7 million U.S. jobs filled with illegal foreign workers. On balance, this was not good news in the pediatric physical therapy units across America.
FOREIGN LABOR ESPECIALLY DISADVANTAGES THE DISABLED
All other things being equal, do you suppose an employer is going to prefer a disabled American or a strong-bodied, young foreign worker?
It is difficult enough to first of all find jobs in which a disability does not have to prevent the worker from performing up to standard. Secondly, it is difficult for the disabled to get past many employers' natural qualms about hiring them.
But the federal government's immigration policies may be the greatest handicap of all that disabled Americans must surmount.
With the federal government opening massive floodgates of foreign workers since 1990, it is no surprise that the employment dreams entailed in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 have been largely unconsummated. Pres. George H.W. Bush signed that act but also signed another bill that drastically increased the flow of foreign labor to compete with the disabled Americans trying to become fully productive members of society.
Since then, Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and now Obama have done everything possible with immigration policies to keep disabled Americans out of the job market by pushing foreign workers in front of them in line.
OBAMA'S DISCONNECTED COMPASSIONS
Before going on Leno's show, Pres. Obama probably was sincere in an exchange with a handicapped American man, according to the Washington Post:
During a town hall forum in Los Angeles earlier in the day, a disabled man told Obama 'about the true renaissance that's happening' among people with physical disabilities, asking the president how "your disability agenda will release this emerging potential that's currently wasted and untapped?'
'Well, you are exactly right that we need everybody,' Obama responded. 'And every program that we have has to be thinking on the front end how do we make sure that it is inclusive and building into it our ability to draw on the capacities of persons with disabilities.'
Mr. Obama, when you say "every program," you obviously do not include your immigration programs. Are your immigration programs making sure that the nation does its best to use the talents of the disabled members of our national community?
And you are wrong to say that "we need everybody." Because of your predecessors' -- and now your -- immigration policies, the employers of America most definitely do NOT need our handicapped fellow citizens. The official unemployment rate makes that clear.
As usual, Pres. Obama shows no sign of understanding that foreign workers compete for jobs with Americans. He seems to regard immigration as some form of human rights, civil rights or global humanitarianism program that has no impact on the labor market.
He may be sincere in that ignorance, but that sincere ignorance is devastating to the American households who are without a job because of our immigration programs.
As a result, Mr. Obama continues to appear willing to perpetuate immigration policies that are profoundly anti-humanitarian, anti-justice and anti-mercy. He did not create them. But he is now the Change President who refuses to change these destructive policies.
SHIRLEY BEAT THE PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN BOWLING
With all the photos and news stories about the President's bowling prowess the last few days, our family decided to celebrate Shirley's birthday last night with several hours at the bowling alley.
With family holding her up, Shirley double-pumped all her own throws at the foul line. Her immediate goal was to beat Mr. Obama's celebrated outing before the Pennsylvania Primary last year when he quit after bowling a 37 through seven frames (a pace for a 53 game). Shirley got close with a 52 the first game, fell short the second and then ended with a triumphant 87.
That was still short of the 129 that the President says he recently achieved at the White House lanes, but I'm sure Shirley would be happy to try a direct competition at the White House and to compete without a scoring handicap -- as long as Mr. Obama would remove the immigration handicap from the job market for disabled Americans.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Some of the comments that readers are sending in are especially thoughtful. I excerpt a few here:
In countries with a free labor market - that is, one not being constantly manipulated by importation of foreign labor for the benefit of employers - businesses learn to employ disadvantaged classes of workers.
African Americans and Hispanic Americans consigned to slums, and disabled Americans stuck at home, all by lack of opportunity, are far more in the shadows than illegal immigrants. . . . . I cannot think of another real democracy where the leaders display such contempt for their fellow citizens.
-- Thomas2924 of IN, Tue, 03/24/2009 - 4:48pm
This is the first I have heard about the percentage of unemployed handicapped citizens of this country. What a shameful government that they continue to bring in more and more foreign workers to take the jobs from Americans. Kudos to your wife for a good bowling game.
-- Shirley9650 of AZ Tue, 03/24/2009 - 3:48pm
Thanks for paying some attention to an issue that is summarily overlooked all too often. Just a reminder to all -- every 'disability story' is, by definition, a personal story -- lest we forget that there are some Americans, somewhere, that are forced to bear the sacrifices of our misguided immigration policies.
-- Fred6648 of OR Tue, 03/24/2009 - 1:38pm
Updated: Wed, Mar 25th 2009 @ 9:53am EDT