On the eve of his State of the Union address, the president is under great pressure to increase the number of foreign workers instead of continuing to honor his campaign promises that immigration policies should prioritize the needs of Americans who have not benefited by the national economy in recent decades
Restraining immigration numbers always tightens the labor market as does the addition of new jobs. Last Friday's government report stated that another 304,000 jobs were added in January. The official "U-3" unemployment rate is down to 4.0 percent.
This is great news for Americans who have been shut out of -- or given up on -- the job market altogether.
Employers are being forced to recruit from the tens of millions of people who don't show up in the unemployment rate."
Over at Investor's Business Daily, the editors have noted: "For the first time in more than 20 years, the number of people who are out of the labor force -- those without jobs and not looking -- shrank by 647,000 over the past 12 months ."
Imagine all those lives and families that have been radically improved by being pulled back not only into the labor force but into jobs.
That means employers are creatively figuring out how to recruit Americans who had given up even trying to find a job to support themselves.
How many working-age U.S. residents (aged 18-64) are not in the labor market at all? Some 50 million! Of course, not all of them need a job. But large numbers do. For example, 35 million people under age 65 live in poverty. One of every five Hispanics is impoverished. One of every three working-age black Americans still has no job."
In the Daily Caller, I wrote:
The last thing those Americans need is for Congress or the President to stop the positive momentum by taking immigration actions that would add competition from millions of new job seekers through increased immigration, more guest workers, weaker enforcement and new amnesties."
I was recently in a meeting with several representatives of business organizations that were asking for more foreign workers. I told them that I did sympathize with the likelihood that it is getting more difficult for them to fill jobs with Americans who haven't held a job for some time. I said I could understand why they might find it much easier to fill jobs with new immigrants and guest workers than to recruit from among the legions of long-discouraged, long-overlooked American workers.
I told the business leaders and government officials that, while it might be more difficult for employers to do so, recruiting those Americans back into the labor market would leave our country far better off.
All of us as a national community benefit by moving these Americans from dependency on taxpayers and charity and into productivity. And the lives of those individuals can be transformed by the dignity and the financial rewards of work.
It is doubtful employers will do the necessary recruiting of those Americans and immigrants already here if the government increases the flow of foreign workers even higher than the current one million new immigrants who are given lifetime work permits each year plus hundreds of thousands of guest workers.
"How much better it would be if the president could persuade Congress to speed up the momentum of recruiting previously unwanted workers. He can do that by sticking with his campaign promises to help American workers by working with Congress to cut unnecessary, generalized immigration like chain migration and the lottery, and to mandate E-Verify to shut off the jobs magnet that encourages illegal workers to come and stay in the United States."
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Feb 18th 2019 @ 7:00pm EST