Pres. Obama made only one reference to immigration during his second inaugural address on Monday, but that wasn't the statement that stood out on the topic. Instead, it was his statement echoing his concern for a shrinking middle class. A concern, however, that is contradictory to his immigration proposal that would award millions of illegal aliens with amnesty thus putting a major strain on the middle class.
Pres. Obama said:
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.
Pres. Obama believes that the country can't succeed if only a privileged few benefit at the expense of the middle class. But let's take a look at exactly who is promoting and therefore benefiting from the President's amnesty proposal.
Just last week, a headline from U.S. News read:
"Bloomberg Deploys Hundreds of CEOs to Move Lawmakers on Immigration"
That would be New York City Mayor and BILLIONAIRE Michael Bloomberg whose Partnership for a New American Economy includes hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs (other millionaires and billionaires) pushing for an amnesty and increased levels of legal immigration.
These successful few want amnesty and more immigration for one simple reason - it makes them more money. They would rather turn to foreign workers willing to work for less in wages and fewer benefits than train willing Americans whose only demand is that they're paid a living wage.
[I]mmigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That's just supply and demand: we're talking about large increases in the number of low-skill workers relative to other inputs into production, so it’s inevitable that this means a fall in wages.
-- Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, "Notes on Immigration"
The Partnership for a New American Economy is not alone. On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue wrote an op-ed calling for amnesty and an increase in foreign workers. Other billionaires such as Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs have also called for amnesty.
There is one group you won't find promoting a mass amnesty and calling for increases in foreign workers - the middle class. While polling shows varying opinions on amnesty based on the way the question is asked, it also shows that most Americans don't think Congress and the President should make immigration reform a high priority. The reason why is simple; the impacts of mass immigration and an amnesty are placed squarely on the backs of the middle class.
Research from both the Center for Immigration Studies and The Heritage Foundation has shown that immigrants of the last 20 years tend to be lower-skilled and lesser-educated and they disproportionately use government-provided services, and it's middle class Americans who feel the pain in their tax bills.
[O]pen immigration can't coexist with a strong social safety net; if you're going to assure health care and a decent income to everyone, you can't make that offer global.
-- Paul Krugman
Middle class families don't just feel the pain in their wallets, but in their daily lives as well. They see overcrowded schools, increasing traffic, and less open space.
How are the Michael Bloombergs of the world impacted? They can avoid those busy roads and crowded schools with their ability to afford homes closer to work and by sending their kids to private schools.
So, if Pres. Obama really wants his legacy to be growing and strengthening the middle class, he should consider the negative impacts of his immigration proposal on that same middle class and take a closer look at exactly who would benefit.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA