Brookings Study Finds that 70 Percent of Foreign Workers Are Not High-Skilled

A story in The Washington Post today trumpeting the findings of a study released by the Brookings Institution illustrates the twisted logic (or an utter disregard for logic) necessary to make the case that the United States immigration system is consistent with the national interest. Brookings is claiming that there are now more high-skilled than low-skilled immigrants in the U.S. because there are 30 percent of immigrants with at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 28 percent of immigrants with less than a high-school diploma.

The 30 percent of bachelor’s holders counts guest workers (non-immigrants) as “temporary immigrants” and counts those foreign-born with only a high school diploma as “middle skilled.” So instead of admitting that their research shows that 70 percent of the foreign-born in the U.S. have a only a high-school education or less, Brookings carefully selected its data and created convenient definitions to mask the fact that our legal immigration policies are admitting people whose skills do not match the needs of our economy. Based on this tortured logic, Brookings comes to the conclusion that the U.S. immigration system is working great and the only thing that would improve it is mass amnesty and a major expansion of annual admissions.

For many years, FAIR has been providing evidence that utterly refutes Brookings’ defense of an immigration policy that just so happens to benefit the Institution’s major funders. But it is always nice to have someone make our case for us, even if inadvertently.

In the same article, in which the Post intended to show how the immigration system is benefitting the U.S. economy, it actually exposed how some employers accentuate the displacement of American workers through guest worker programs. In this case, the workers being harmed are skilled and well-educated:

Some employers may say they prefer immigrants to native-born workers. When Samir Kumar needs to hire employees for his Northern Virginia-based IT business, he often looks overseas. Not only do workers from India and Ukraine have the required training, but their expectations are lower, he said. “They actually don’t demand a very high amount of salary, and the expectations are
kind of grounded and they don’t jump around so much” between companies,
said the 39-year-old Ashburn resident, an immigrant from India. U.S.-born technology and business analysts are hard to find and hard to retain, he said,
while immigrants with the same skills and education “are much easier to manage.”

That statement makes clear what is terribly wrong with the U.S. immigration system, and the mental gymnastics required to defend the indefensible.

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