Pretty much shows that Americans are willing to do those jobs, even though our government doesn't believe it.
Immigration cited as reason for U.S. losses
By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer
It's a widespread belief, one reinforced by public officials including President Bush: ``Illegal immigrants do the jobs Americans won't do.''But it's being challenged in a five-year study that concludes millions of undereducated Americans are without work in a labor market oversaturated by illegal immigrants.
Steven Camarota, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors reduced immigration, released the findings Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The study calls into question the theory that America is desperately short of underskilled workers, Camarota said. More importantly, he added, the research concluded that illegal immigration had a direct effect on job loss for native-born workers.
Employers who hire from the vast pool of illegal immigrants avoid paying workers' compensation, health benefits, Social Security and a whole slew of labor law requirements, he said.
From backbreaking jobs in the meatpacking industry to janitorial work, the research showed that from 2000 to 2005, participation in the labor force by U.S.-born adults without a high school degree fell from 59 percent to 56 percent. Among U.S.-born adults with a high school degree, participation dropped from 78 percent to 75 percent, according to the study.
During the same time, the number of adult immigrant workers with a high school degree or less increased by 1.5 million people … rising from 15.5 percent of the work force to 17.4 percent. In a hot political climate where ``guest-worker'' programs are being debated on Capitol Hill and anti-immigrant groups are protesting outside day labor centers across Southern California, the study's release comes as immigration is taking center stage.
Senate and congressional debates rely heavily on unsubstantiated information about the labor market and illegal immigration, Camarota said.
``There is nothing wrong with immigration; it's a very powerful force in the United States labor market,'' Camarota said. ``But the idea that immigrants are doing the jobs Americans won't do is absurd on its face. There are no such jobs that Americans won't do, because most of the jobs in America are done by native-born (residents).''
The number of American-born high school dropouts with jobs declined from 2000 to 2005 by 1.3 million, the study estimated. Census data collected in the study revealed that 4 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64 with a high school education or less are unemployed, while 19 million others are not in the labor force.
However, Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute, who has conducted similar research into income and wage inequality, said the issue is not necessarily illegal immigration, but a sign of the U.S. market underperforming.
Bernstein said the lack of job creation in the U.S. over the past five years has contributed to the growth of unemployment for all unskilled laborers.
The overall weak demand for labor, outsourcing of U.S. jobs and low minimum wage contributes more to job loss among Americans than illegal immigration, Bernstein added.
Bernstein did not dispute the report's findings but did disagree with its conclusion.
``This is more of a sign of a labor market underperforming in general than an immigrant group doing better,'' Bernstein said. ``But the deterioration is worse for native than foreign-born. It's a pretty tough labor market for everybody.''
Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, and John McCain, R-Ariz., have proposed a guest-worker program that would admit 400,000 foreign workers annually. The Bush administration is looking for an open-ended guest-worker plan.
President Bush proposed that a guest-worker program ``match willing foreign workers with willing U.S. employers when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. The program would be open to new foreign workers and to the undocumented men and women currently employed in the U.S.''
The administration's proposal falls in line with what the Mexican government has been seeking for a guest-worker program, said Raphael Laveaga, in an earlier interview. Laveaga, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., said both nations must work together to create a guest-worker program.
``We are neighbors and friends,'' Laveaga said. ``A guest- worker program that takes into consideration the needs of both nations is important in combating the issues of migration.''
The proposals have led to the organization of hundreds of anti-illegal immigrant groups across the United States, from the Minuteman civilian border watch groups to Friends of the Border Patrol, chaired by Andy Ramirez of Chino. These groups argue that guest-worker programs should not be considered until the southern border with Mexico is secured.
``President Bush outsources high-tech jobs and imports illegal immigrant labor,'' Ramirez said. ``The question is, what happens to middle-class America?''
Camarota argues against the administration's stance for a guest-worker program, saying it harms the American worker. He added that cultural misperceptions of what illegal immigrants are willing to do, along with cost-cutting by employers, contribute to the growing number of illegal immigrants being hired in the United States.
Unemployment remains relatively high for some native-born groups … 9.3 percent for African-Americans and 12.7 percent for white teenagers, the study finds.
``If you flood the bottom of the labor market, it doesn't matter what laws you pass, they are unenforceable … the supply and demand will be overwhelming,'' Camarota said. ``It always trumps labor laws.''
A study released Wednesday by the Center of Immigration Studies challenges the notion that illegal immigrants are doing the jobs Americans won't do. It concluded that undereducated native-born Americans are without work partly because the labor market is oversaturated by illegal immigrants.
• Some of the occupations most affected by immigration include maids, construction workers, dishwashers, janitors, painters, cabbies, groundskeepers and meat/poultry workers. Workers in these occupations are overwhelmingly native-born.
• The workers themselves are not the only thing to consider: Nearly half of American children younger than 18 are dependent on a less-educated worker, and 71 percent of children of the native-born working poor depend on a worker with a high school degree or less.
• Native-born teenagers (15 to 17) also saw their labor force participation fall from 30 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in 2005.
• Wage data show little evidence of a labor shortage. Wage growth for less-educated natives has generally lagged.
Source: Center for Immigration Studies
<------ This is my "shocked" look . . .