Chris Chmielenski's picture

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  by  Chris Chmielenski

On Wednesday, Pres. Obama spoke at length about his desire to address an issue NumbersUSA has been talking about since its inception -- income inequality in the United States.

The President said:

I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American.

-- Pres. Obama, December 4, 2013

Ironically, Pres. Obama delivered the speech at the Center for American Progress - an organization that supports amnesty and massive foreign worker increases. The Center has acknowledged that the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill, S.744, would add 30 million new workers to the labor force in the first decade and depress wages.

The CBO does say in its analysis that in the first decade, average American wages will fall...

-- Center for American Progress, "The 6 Key Takeaways from the CBO Cost Estimate of S. 744", June 21, 2013

And, in its report -- "Immigration Helps American Workers' Wages and Job Opportunities" -- the Center focuses on wage protections for immigrants and barely deals with wages for American workers. Instead, it argues, defensively, that low-skilled immigrant workers grow the economy and don't compete for the same jobs.

Harvard professor and renowned immigration economist, Dr. George Borjas, acknowledges that immigration grows the economy, but also provides evidence that reform really only helps the immigrant community.

The presence of all immigrant workers (legal and illegal) in the labor market makes the U.S. economy (GDP) an estimated 11 percent larger ($1.6 trillion) each year. This "contribution" to the aggregate economy, however, does not measure the net benefit to the native-born population. ...

Of the $1.6 trillion increase in GDP, 97.8 percent goes to the immigrants themselves in the form of wages and benefits...

-- Dr. George Borjas, "Immigration and the American Worker", April 2013

Research by Dr. Borjas concludes that immigration reform's impact on the economy will increase wages for the rich, keep wages stagnant for the middle class, and decrease wages for the poor. Not exactly a policy that promotes income equality.

Immigration has its largest negative impact on the wage of native workers who lack a high school diploma, a group that make up a modest (and, in recent decades, shrinking) share of the workforce. These workers are among the poorest Americans.

-- Dr. George Borjas, "Immigration and the American Worker", April 2013

Pres. Obama made only one reference to immigration reform in his speech, but it was in the context of raising wages for illegal-aliens currently living in the "shadows."

We're going to need immigration reform that grows the economy and takes people out of the shadows. We're going to need targeted initiatives to close those gaps.

-- Pres. Obama, December 4, 2013

The President ignores the impact of adding 33 million (NumbersUSA's estimate) new workers, who are mostly low-skilled, will have on wages. His solution to close the gap between the rich and poor is to simply raise the minimum wage instead of tightening up the labor market, which would force employers to increase wages. He doesn't realize that the same big business groups that want immigration reform also oppose his efforts to raise the minimum wage. Why does big business support one and oppose the other? Because they want lower wages!

Will anyone confront the President on this apparent dichotomy?

It's unlikely that the media will challenge Pres. Obama on immigration. The mainstream media never reported on the unpopular provisions of the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill. Instead, they referenced flawed poll questions, showing broad support for reform. In recent weeks, the media has blamed Congress' inability to pass immigration reform in 2013 as just another example of a dysfunctional Washington, rather than acknowledging that the actual legislation was unpopular.

We're thrilled that Pres. Obama is finally directing focus on a topic that NumbersUSA has been concerned with for years. Roy began discussing the devastating effect of mass immigration on the wages of working class Americans in his 1996 book, The Case Against Immigration.

The economic law of supply and demand has not been repealed; it is a law that needs no official enforcement. Once the federal government pours large numbers of foreign workers into American communities, the free-market economy takes care of the rest, converting surplus labor into lower wages and worse working conditions than otherwise would exist.

-- Roy Beck, The Case Against Immigration, pg. 104

We're fortunate to have one, outspoken champion in Congress who understands the impact of amnesty and mass immigration on wages. Sen. Jeff Sessions was quick to respond to Pres. Obama's income inequality speech, saying "It is time to have an open and honest conversation about our shrinking middle class and the consequences of our immigration policies on American workers and their wages." (You can read more of Sen. Sessions' comments here.)

Send a free fax today and tell Congress how mass immigration negatively impacts wages in America.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

Tags:  
American workers
Legal Immigration
Illegal Immigration

Updated: Mon, Dec 9th 2013 @ 11:30pm EST

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