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A popular argument among pro-amnesty supporters is that illegal aliens are doing work that Americans won't do. But data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in all occupational fields, the the vast majority of workers are American

In the United States there are 20.8 million native-borns unemployed, while there are 7.1 million illegal aliens working and employed  (Center for Immigration Studies, Table 36). By looking at the numbers, if the unemployed natives replaced all the illegal workers in the workforce, 35% of the unemployed would become employed.

AMERICANS DO WORK SERVICE JOBS

When people claim that these workers are taking jobs that Americans won't do, they ignore these statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 averages):

  • 77.7 percent of the 7.75 million workers in food preparation and serving jobs are native-born workers (does not include legal immigrant workers). 
  • 65.8 percent of 5.38 million workers in cleaning and maintenance jobs are native-born workers (does not include legal immigrant workers)
  • 74.5 percent of the 7.45 million workers in construction and extraction jobs are native-born workers (does not include legal immigrant workers)
  • 75.9 percent of the 7.63 million workers in production jobs are native-born workers (does not include legal immigrant workers)


According to research by Andrew Sum, a labor economist at Boston's Northeastern University, shows that the ratio of unemployed persons to job openings for construction workers is  22.1 to one, while for manufacturing it is 13 to 1. In December of 2000 these same ratios were 3.5 and 1.7 respectively. (Reuters, "U.S. Blue Collar Army Chases Few Vacancies")

Journalist Mark Cromer wrote about his experience trying to find a minimum wage job in California in "Hey Buddy, Can You Spare A Job?"

For more information on native and immigrant employment by occupation, see the Center for Immigration Studies backgrounder here and scroll to Table 9. 

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unemployment