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A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies says that all of the net jobs added to the economy since 2000 went to legal and illegal immigrants. The study counters the claims by business groups that the U.S. has a shortage of workers and needs to increase immigration levels.

According to the study, fewer native-born Americans held a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job rose 5.7 million above the 2000 level. “With 58 million working-age natives not working, the Senate-passed comprehensive amnesty bill and similar House measures, which would substantially increase the number of foreign workers allowed in the country, seem entirely disconnected from the realities of the U.S. labor market,” said Dr. Steven Camarota, co-author of the report and the Center's Director of Research.

The study’s authors cite three primary conclusions under their analysis:

  • The long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear indication that there is no general labor shortage, a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled);
  • The decline in work among the native-born over the last 14 years of high immigration is consistent with research showing that immigration reduces employment for natives;
  • The trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, a time period in which native employment has deteriorated significantly.

“Some may think that immigrants and natives never compete for jobs. But a majority of workers in virtually every occupation are native-born. Immigrants have made gains across the labor market in lower-, middle- and higher-skilled jobs. Thus the idea that there are jobs Americans don’t do is simply not supported by the data,” Mr. Camarota and co-author Karen Zeigler wrote.

Business groups have long argued that Congress needs to amnesty illegal aliens, because they supposedly perform jobs Americans won’t do, and needs to increase the number of foreign guest workers to address worker shortages and help the economy. The Senate-passed bill (S. 744), for example, would nearly triple the number of work permits for new immigrants and guest workers over the next decade. Such groups have spent millions lobbying Congress only to come up short. The CIS study rebuts their arguments and undermines their ongoing lobbying effort. As if to punctuate the CIS study, a new Gallup poll found that more Americans prefer reducing rather than increasing immigration.

This week is the anniversary of the passage of the Senate’s comprehensive amnesty, and Senate Democrats have used it as an opportunity to criticize House Republicans for not moving immigration legislation. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., on the other hand, saw the anniversary as an opportunity to pass one element of the bill that would help put Americans back to work – E-Verify. Sen. Sessions said that E-Verify’s workplace eligibility verification is necessary to protect Americans who are being nosed out of the job market by illegal aliens.

Sen. Sessions tried to get unanimous consent to pass a bill that would require all businesses to use E-Verify, but Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., turned down his request. Durbin argued S. 744 should pass Congress instead. “We are not going to take that bill apart piece by piece,” he said.

The Alabama Republican also asked for unanimous consent to consider the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act, which would prevent illegal aliens from getting child tax credits. But Durbin objected again, and intimated that these credits should go to illegal aliens.

“I want to make sure that working families with small children have the helping hand of our tax code,” Durbin said. “I want to stop any fraud in any program in our tax code, but I don’t believe this bill is a balanced approach to solving the problem.”

Read the CIS study or The Washington Times or TheBlaze for more background.

Legal Immigration
Illegal Immigration
American workers
E-Verify

Updated: Fri, Jul 11th 2014 @ 12:40pm EDT