Many occupations often thought to be worked overwhelmingly by immigrants (legal and illegal) are in fact majority native-born, according to a new study from the Center for Immigration Studies. After analyzing government data, CIS found that native-born Americans make up a majority of workers among maids and housekeepers (51%), taxi drivers and chauffeurs (54%), butchers and meat processors (64%), grounds maintenance workers (66%), construction (65%), and janitors (73%).

Last month, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill for FY2019 that would permanently exempt certain returning foreign workers from the H-2B annual cap of 66,000. H-2B visas are often used by employers of low-skilled jobs because they claim they can't find American workers willing to do the work.

CIS examined 474 occupations defined by the Department of Commerce and found only a handful of occupations where jobs are held by a majority foreign-born workers. CIS found no field where illegal aliens, including agriculture, hold a majority of the jobs.

Foreign-born workers hold a majority of the jobs in the following occupations: agricultural graders and sorters, personal appearance workers, plasterers and stucco masons, sewing machine operators, tailors, and agricultural workers. In each of these occupations, the unemployment rate among native-born workers is above the national average with agricultural workers, agricultural graders and sorters, and plasterers and stucco masons having national unemployment rates above 13%.

According to CIS' findings, occupations with more than a 25% share of foreign-born workers tend to be lower-skilled with the majority of workers having no more than a high school education. Native-born workers tend to have high unemployment in high-immigrant occupations, averaging 9.8% during the 2012-2016 period, compared to 5.6% in the rest of the labor force. There were a total of 1.8 million unemployed native-born Americans in high-immigrant occupations.

For more on this study, see

Low-skilled Americans
H-2B visas

Updated: Tue, Sep 11th 2018 @ 9:40am EDT