By Joe Guzzardi
When it comes to what Democrats call comprehensive immigration reform, Senator Chuck Schumer lives in his own little world.
Schumer, obsessed with passing an immigration bill that would grant amnesty to more than 10 million illegal aliens, has a new wrinkle he hopes will fool an American public that has for more than a decade rejected rewarding law breakers.
According to Schumer, immigration creates jobs. He recently stated “We [his Senate allies] decided we ought to start highlighting the fact that immigration creates jobs rather than takes them away.”
Schumer, the Senate’s third ranking member and the Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security held a hearing Tuesday titled “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform” with the typical witness list that included only those who support more immigration.
With the Obama administration’s all-consuming emphasis on the economy and the pathetic employment reports, Schumer would like to portray immigration, especially through H-1B visas for so called high skilled workers, as vital to job growth.
On at least two counts, Schumer is whistling past the graveyard. First, even though Schumer claims that the immigration talks “are not dead,” they could not be deader. The enforcement-minded House is solidly opposed to amnesty. And any bill that might come out of Schumer’s committee would also have the tough, if not impossible, task of getting Senate approval.
Second, immigration doesn’t create jobs; it takes them. Recent immigrants either need jobs or social services to survive. The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. Cities and states are broke and cannot afford to dole out more welfare benefits.
My compassion is for unemployed Americans, those who would obviously be displaced by recently arrived immigrants.
While immigration does in some sense grow the economy — more people equal a bigger economy — a decade of high immigration has hurt American workers. Every year for the last decade, the federal government has issued more than one million permanent green cards. As a result of that largess, fewer native-born workers were employed in 2010 than in 2000. The net employment gains went to foreign-born.
For native employment to return to its 2000 level, 12 million jobs would have to be created. Considering that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June analysis, the economy created only 18,000 new jobs. So, at this rate, getting to 12 million would take several lifetimes. Even the liberal, global policy think tank RAND confirms that there is no work shortage in Schumer’s area of keenest interest, the science, technical, mathematical and engineering fields.
Schumer and his cry wolf strategy is doomed. His job shortage claims and similar appeals based on the unproven theory that the nation needs more immigration were non-starters during the two booming George W. Bush administrations. With the nation in the grips of the greatest jobs crisis since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, why isn’t Schumer more concerned with the millions of unemployed Americans?
For Schumer to hold rigged hearings designed to deceive the public about immigration as a solution to unemployment when the country has so many more pressing problems represents dereliction of his sworn duties. Schumer’s responsibility is to work on behalf of all the American people and not just special interest groups.