The Chicago Council on Global Affairs last week released a report calling for increased immigration to the Midwest “…to be globally competitive” according to the March 7 Journal Sentinel.
The report was directed by Tamar Jacoby, who heads the big business-backed ImmigrationWorks USA lobbying organization. The underlying theme of the report is that, “…the US workforce is not educated enough to sustain a globally competitive knowledge economy.’ The contradictory theme of the report is that, “…Americans are increasingly educated,” and are not interested in manual labor, and, therefore, more foreign manual laborers are needed. The report, unsurprisingly, arrives at recommendations that Jacoby has long advocated: more H-1B and L professional worker visas with an emphasis on high tech (STEM) workers, more foreign entrepreneurs, more unskilled and seasonal workers and amnesty (“a path to citizenship”) for current illegal aliens.
The dearth of immigrants and foreign workers in the Midwest is not supported by data available in the report and elsewhere. The report notes the presence in the area in 2011 of 87,000 H-1B visa high-skills workers, 108,000 L visa intra-company transfer workers and 610,000 NAFTA long-term non-immigrant professional workers. It also cites the presence in the 2010 Census of more than three million foreign-born residents in the region. The only relevant statistics that were missing were the number of new immigrants being admitted with the aim of settling in the region – an average of more than 125,000 per year between 2002 and 2011 according to official immigration data – and the number of unemployed Midwesterners who would like to have some of those jobs taken by foreign workers – more than 2.4 million in December 2012 according to the U.S. Department of Labor.