On Sunday, January 5th, National Economic Council director Gene Sperling and CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer briefly touched on immigration on Meet The Press with David Gregory.
Sperling said "....tell me if we were to pass bipartisan immigration reform that would bring in more skilled workers, more STEM workers into our economy, if we were to launch a major effort to create jobs and modernize our infrastructure, of course that would increase the attractiveness of job location in our country."
The notion that we need to import more foreign workers to keep U.S. jobs here is difficult to defend, particularly when 20 million Americans who want a full-time job can't find one. What difference does it make to U.S. job seekers if the job they want is filled by a foreign worker domestically or abroad? Either way, they are out of luck.
Only one out of every two graduates with STEM degrees is hired into a STEM job. As the New York Times reported last July, "plenty of potential candidates exist for thousands of positions for which companies want to import guest workers, according to an analysis of three million resumes of job seekers in the United States."
Cramer didn't specifically address the oversupply of U.S. STEM workers but his response to Sperling was a perspective not frequently heard on the Sunday morning talk shows:
"David don't you find it interesting that the dogma is now, post Clinton, pro-immigration at a time when we have a much larger supply of labor than we need and pro-free trade even though we're supposed to be greenhouse gas oriented. We know where those jobs go. Those jobs leave this country to countries that can pollute all they want. I've always wanted to know why the Democrats didn't say "you know what, we need a defense against the countries that take our jobs and pollute all over." Well we don't care about that. What we care about is when workers come to this country from other countries, they get jobs. Why don't we care more about our people?"
Cramer's charge that the U.S. government cares more about finding jobs for new foreign workers than for unemployed Americans is a serious one, but government data backs him up.
From 2000-2013 - a period that saw more immigration than any other time in U.S. history - all of the net employment gains went to immigrant workers. Stronger evidence that putting unemployed Americans back work is a low priority for Washington would be difficult to find.
The question of how mass immigration is impacting American mobility will have to wait for another Sunday show. Gregory avoided Cramer's question, opting instead to move on to Wall Street, which incidentally profits from mass immigration by way of depressed wages.
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA
Updated: Thu, Mar 1st 2018 @ 11:10am EST