A report by the Center for Immigration Studies that shows all employment gains in the United States since 2000 have gone to immigrants has drawn a big “I told you so” from U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R- Alabama.
Three conclusions can be drawn from this analysis:
First, 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, which is a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals.
Second, 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.
Third, 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, yet native employment has deteriorated significantly.
1. The total number of working-age (16 to 65) immigrants (legal and illegal) holding a job increased 5.7 million from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2014, while declining 127,000 for natives.
2. In the first quarter of 2000, there were 114.8 million working-age natives holding a job; in the first quarter of 2014 it was 114.7 million.
3. Because the native-born population grew significantly, but the number working actually fell, there were 17 million more working-age natives not working in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000.
4. Immigrants have made gains across the labor market, including lower-skilled jobs such as maintenance, construction, and food service; middle-skilled jobs like office support and health care support; and higher-skilled jobs, including management, computers, and health care practitioners.
Sessions, a critic of liberal immigration policy, said the report proves policies such as “amnesty” for illegal aliens is bad medicine for the economy.
“The findings in this report are shocking, and represent a dramatic indictment of immigration policy in Washington D.C.,” Sessions said in a statement. “This report also underscores the economic catastrophe that would have ensued had the Gang of Eight’s legislation, passed in the Senate one year ago today, been moved through the House and signed into law. Not only did the Gang of Eight plan provide amnesty to illegal workers (and help entice a new wave of illegal immigration), but it surged the rate of new low-skilled immigration at a time of low wages and high unemployment. Such a proposal would have hollowed out the middle class.”
Sessions has been lecturing Capitol Hill on how illegal immigration has been depressing wages and job opportunities for legal U.S. workers of late. Recently, he blasted fellow conservatives such as News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch for viewing immigrants as a commodity to use for cheap labor. “Perhaps no issue better illustrates the current divide between everyday citizens and our political and business elites than the issue of immigration,” Sessions wrote for Breitbart.