On Thursday, President Obama announced a plan to put up to 180,000 American youths back to work this summer. On the face of it, the president should be applauded. However, when one considers that in 2011, a record high of 18.8 million youths (ages 16 to 24) were unable to find a summer job, his plan seems rather lacking in certain areas... such as putting a meaningful number of Americans back to work.
I know some of you might find it a bit galling that Mr. Obama circumvented Congress in order to launch this initiative. However, putting all political considerations aside, he is well within his rights to help young Americans find work. It's just disappointing that he hasn't done more to help all American youths, rather than the 1% his program will aid.
President Obama is undoubtedly a very smart man and is perspicacious enough to realize that immigration is what's harming American youths the most. But sadly, he refuses to take any action, executive or otherwise, to reduce the impact immigration has on young Americans. The reasons for this are known only to him and his advisors. But in the spirit of helping American youths find jobs this summer, I'm going to spotlight some areas where President Obama or could act, and indeed, must act.
How America's Backward Immigration System Destroys the Dreams of America's Future
In 2010, the most recent year that DHS has released data for, the United States gave green cards to 87,005 individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 and 104,323 individuals between the ages of 20 and 24. These are youths who have the right to reside and work in the United States and compete directly with American youths for jobs. In the cases of 18-and-under green card holders, these are the youths that are going to take some of the summer jobs that President Obama's initiative is going to create (of course, individuals who come to the United States legally as minors should not be villainized simply for being here, but if chain migration were to be eliminated, these numbers would decrease dramatically and neither American youths nor foreign-born youths would have to compete for a shrinking number of summer jobs). Over a ten-year period, the number of youths seeking jobs would decrease by more than a million.
This sort of chain migration-fueled immigration only serves to increase the burden on not only America's jobless youth, but all Americans who cannot find a job. But sadly, the State Department (of all government agencies) handed out 120,000 visas in 2011 so that foreign youths could work summer jobs in America. I know that 120,000 visas seems like a lot, but it could have been much worse because the State Department has the power to hand out an unlimited number of these visas (known as J-1 visas). These visas are handed out to facilitate "educational and cultural exchanges." Really? Many of these foreign youths end up working long hours for minimum pay in summer resort towns. In fact, the General Accounting Office and the State Department Inspector General have said that the State Department should not be running the program and the J-1 visa results in American workers being denied jobs. Some cultural exchange, eh?
I left the darling of the open-borders, pro-amnesty movement for last: the DREAM Act amnesty. Those who don't value the finer aspects of the truth would have you believe that the DREAM Act would only benefit upstanding youngsters who came to America against their will. These disingenuous individuals would also have you believe that these illegal youngsters must attend and finish college or enter the military. And of course, to support the DREAM Act, they roll out the most compelling cases that you can't help but feel a twinge of compassion for. The truth is that would-be DREAMers can be 35 years of age or younger (under the Senate bill), must be of "good moral character" (whatever that means), not have been convicted of an aggravated felony or more than two misdemeanors, and have been admitted to an institution of higher education or have a high school diploma or a GED (no college diploma is required). In all, no fewer than two million illegal aliens would be amnestied and receive the right to work in the United States, thus making it even more difficult for American youths to find jobs.
What President Obama Can Do
President Obama's sincerity should not be doubted -- it's clear that he really does want to put American youths back to work. But unfortunately, I feel it necessary to compare the president to one of my favorite fictional characters: Walter Mitty. In "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," by James Thurber, the main character daydreams incessantly about the heroic feats and good deeds he accomplishes, but despite a few fleeting views of the real world, he doesn't realize his true, "hapless," or even "inept" self until the end. I fear the same holds true with Mr. Obama -- he means well with plans to pass the DREAM Act or his support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, but he is living in his own world. That is, he doesn't see what effect these actions would have on the American people.
All is not lost; it is never too late to have a positive impact. You have been faxing and phoning the White House and this must continue. If the message does not get through to Mr. Obama, it will get through to his aides, and it will eventually get through to the president. And with his poll numbers down and the elections less that a year away, he may just take some sort of unilateral action to help the 99% of American youths who can't find work get a job.
JOE JENKINS is a writer/researcher at NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Oct 2nd 2017 @ 3:19pm EDT