Restrictionists Build Anti-Immigrant Agenda on Backs of American Workers

Written by on December 14, 2009 in Economics, Employment and Wages, Enforcement, Legislation, Reform with 0 Comments

While perpetuators of the myth that “immigrants take jobs away from hard working Americans” are busy exploiting both immigrants and native-born workers, a new report by America’s Voice Education Fund shines a much needed light on the restrictionist lobby’s real agenda—deportation at any cost. Released last week, the report takes a closer look at the “anti-worker” voting records of supposedly “pro-worker” Congressional Members who, “aided by a shadow coalition of groups with an anti-immigrant agenda,” have consistently built a “deport them all” agenda on the backs of American workers.

According to the report:

Of the 87 Members of the House of Representatives who received an “A” grade from the extremist anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in the 110th Congress:

  • 94% voted against the Employee Free Choice Act
  • 93% voted against Equal Pay for Women
  • 83% voted against Extending Unemployment Compensation
  • 82% voted against Providing Parental Leave for Federal Employees
  • 68% voted against Increasing the Minimum Wage

Not exactly a pro-worker voting record. Not that one must score 100% on labor report cards to be in favor of American workers, but very few Members of Congress who scream the loudest about protecting American jobs have thus far seen a piece of pro-worker legislation they could like. To quote Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) in a recent Roll Call article, “I don’t see raising the minimum wage as helping American workers.”

Not only are some Members of Congress late to the party, but they don’t seem to understand that employment is not a zero-sum game—nor is mass deportation a solution to our unemployment problem. Deporting the roughly 8.3 million unauthorized workers currently in our labor force does not open up jobs for the 15.7 million Americans now out of work. The inconvenient truth for these Congressional members is that comprehensive immigration reform—reform that includes a legalization program—would actually create new jobs and raise wages for the American worker.

A study by the CATO Institute found that a legalization program would actually create more high-skilled jobs for Americans, increase immigrant productivity and yield a positive impact to U.S. households of $180 billion over ten years. Even the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the 2007 immigration bill would have generated $48 billion in new revenue from income and payroll taxes from 2008-2017.

While deporting immigrants may seem to some like a viable solution to our unemployment problem, economists, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, agree that the way forward is comprehensive immigration reform—reform that will bring undocumented workers out from the shadows and level the playing field for all workers.

Photo by vividBreeze.

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