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CIS Report Dispels Myth of ‘Jobs Americans Won’t Do’

author Published by Chris Chmielenski

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

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