Written by Daniel Greenfield
Immigration is becoming unpopular everywhere else. In the UK, immigration has become so toxic that it may lead to a split from the European Union. In Australia, it helped elect a conservative government willing to tackle its migrant boat problem. Meanwhile in the United States, Republicans keep flirting with a Super-Amnesty that would be four times as big as the last disastrous amnesty.
Accepting amnesty as inevitable would be a mistake even if the economy were on track, but it’s an even worse idea when unemployment is so bad that a sizable percentage of the population has dropped out of the economy, national and local social services are overstrained and the country is deep in debt.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle promise that legalizing illegal aliens will jumpstart the economy, but the illegal alien population is already a floating economic disaster.
The states with the highest illegal alien populations also tend to have the highest unemployment rates and the highest poverty rates. That welfare triangle is dragging down formerly booming states into the economic gutter. Legalizing illegal aliens won’t change that. Instead it will push those states even closer to the drain as legalized illegal aliens lose their illegal jobs and are replaced with new illegal aliens.
Corporate lobbies insist that America lacks workers even as the country’s immigration rate and unemployment rate remain extremely high.
The United States has been taking in a million immigrants a year since 2004. Are a million immigrants a year really inadequate for the needs of businesses in a country with less than one hundred million private sector employees and over ninety million people out of the workforce?
Black and Latino unemployment rates are already far higher than white unemployment rates. The Mexican-American unemployment rate is between 10 and 12 percent. If American companies can’t employ the millions of Mexican-Americans already in this country, why do they insist on displacing minority workers born in this country, including Mexican-Americans, by legalizing 12 million more?
From 2000 to 2009, nearly 2 million Mexican immigrants obtained permanent legal status in the United States. Along with them came 200,000 Haitians, part of the more than one million Caribbean migrants, who have a higher unemployment rate than African-Americans. Those figures are unusually bad because immigrant minorities are more likely to hold jobs than domestic minorities.
Pro-amnesty politicians use that to prove that immigrants are more likely to “contribute” to the economy than the native population.
The dirty little secret however is in the details.
To quote the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, “The unemployment rates for foreign-born blacks, Asians, and Hispanics were lower than for their native-born counterparts, while the rates for foreign-born and native-born whites were little different.”
Talk to anyone who employs illegal aliens and that discrepancy between foreign-born minorities and native-born minorities stops being a mystery. They prefer first generation minority immigrants to second generation immigrants because they consider them more obedient, docile and responsible.
Like a man who keeps divorcing and remarrying every few years, they constantly want fresh immigrants, but they don’t want to hire their American-born children. And so the social welfare system becomes a dumping ground for the children of cheap labor immigrants and the businesses head somewhere else to escape the taxes voted in by that second generation leaving behind bankruptcy, crime and despair.
Taking in millions of people whose children will be less likely to find work than their parents is a brutal reversal of the American Dream.
It’s unfair to them and it’s unfair to us.
We aren’t doing immigrants any favors by encouraging them to trade Mexico’s 4.25 unemployment rate for an unemployment rate that is more than double that for Mexican-Americans and has to be balanced out with a generous helping of subsidized everything from food to phones courtesy of the welfare state.
That’s not an investment in the future. It’s an investment in voting blocs while stealing the futures of second generation Mexican immigrants who would be more likely to find work at home and the future of the United States which cannot afford to keep investing social capital that will never be paid back.
The traditional forms of immigration that worked were undone and reversed with disastrous results. There was more legal immigration from Mexico (pop. 120 million) in ten years than from all of Europe (pop. 739 million). 156,000 immigrants came from Guatemala and 15,000 from Ireland, 28,000 from Italy and 251,000 from El Salvador. This reversal might have been defensible if it had worked. It didn’t.
These unbalanced numbers reflect very little concern for either immigration fairness or the future. Despite the statistics showing that white immigrants are less likely to be unemployed, our immigration system perversely favors bringing in immigrants who are more likely to be unemployed.
The Irish are coming. One Irish person emigrates every six minutes. 300,000 have left in the past four years. But they aren’t coming to America; not legally, though there are 10,000 Irish illegal immigrants in Boston alone. 1,371 Irish immigrants became permanent legal residents in 2011 compared to 19,662 Jamaicans, 22,111 Haitians, 46,109 Dominicans, 10,166 Nepalese, 15,546 Pakistanis, 21,133 Iraqis and 143,446 Mexicans. 60,000 Italians emigrate each year, but only 2,443 became US residents in 2011.
American immigration has been ingeniously designed to bring in immigrants who are less likely to be employed than the white native population in either the first generation or the second generation so that the first generation provides cheap labor while the second generation provides cheap votes.
Pro-amnesty politicians and business lobbies talk about investing in our future with an illegal alien amnesty, but what they really want is a first generation of cheap labor for disposable service and manufacturing industries whose employees will be so poorly paid that they will contribute little if anything in taxes and whose children will be more likely to be unemployed than their parents.
Europeans have grown weary of the economic and social consequences of these policies. Americans however have been slower to link their economic problems to their government’s immigration policies. But Democrats and Republicans who are jumping on the amnesty express might want to pay attention to the dramatic reversal in the UK where the parties and outlets mouthing empty migration boosterism are being forced to reverse course after an explosion of public outrage.
Cameron and the Tories face an insurgent UKIP which has cut off the ‘conservative’ party at the knees over immigration and globalization. Democrats who are selling out minority voters and Republicans who are selling out small businesses might easily find themselves in the same sinking boat in the Rio Grande.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish