How About Real Protection for the American Worker?

In a speech given at a Labor Day rally, Hillary Clinton threatened to send American employers to jail for “wage theft” and praised President Obama for promoting “paid family leave”:

“I was very proud that President Obama said today he is going to require federal contractors to provide seven days of earned paid sick leave… And he’s going to fight for paid family leave, something that I’ve been fighting for for 30 years and we’re going to get it done.”

How about we also defend the American worker by revisiting our immigration policy and by holding American employers accountable?

worker-635755_640We summarized in an issue brief Harvard economist George Borjas’ input on how immigration affects the American worker. Look at it from a supply and demand perspective, he said: immigration’s supply of workers leads to the price of labor going down. Conversely, in sectors of the labor market that are not significantly affected by the influx of immigrant workers, the price of labor goes up. What Borjas teaches us is that the presence of low-skilled immigrant workers tends to lower the wages of American low-skilled workers. So, if we cared about the well-being of low-skilled American workers who are being hurt by additional competition, our immigration policy would be geared towards minimizing or stopping the entry of low-skilled immigrants.

We also need to be tough on employers, but not the way Mrs. Clinton suggested. We must sanction employers who employ illegal aliens. One way to do that is by making the E-Verify program mandatory nationwide. This would limit the job magnet and empower states to impose penalties against employers who break the law by hiring illegal aliens.

We at FAIR are committed to protecting the American worker, not just on Labor Day but every day. As we noted in our small guide to making a case for real immigration reform, our primary concern is the well-being of America’s native workforce—especially our most vulnerable citizens who are hurt the most by additional competition from low-skilled immigrants.

After all, stopping “wage theft” or promoting “paid family leave” does not help those who do not have a job.

About Author


The latest guest opinion pieces from FAIR.


  1. avatar

    The Democratic Party says if you want to increase the pay and benefits of American workers and take care of the environment vote for us. But most of their politicians are for mass illegal and legal immigration, which will drive down wages for Americans and wreck our environment. Too bad most of their politicians care more about expanding their voting base than doing what’s best for our country. Sad.

      • avatar

        I agree that Republican politicians are also to blame for our immigration disaster, but the Democratic Party emphasizes increasing the wages and benefits of American workers and taking care of the environment and these goals can’t be accomplished with the mass illegal and legal immigration we have now.

        • avatar

          SecBorders that is completely false……… 6% or so of the population that is illegal….so that is negligible, on the second point you made, you are correct partially I have seen people taking advantage of the system…………….BUT still no excuse……

          This is very complex for instance you are focused on illegals only = negligible……but let’s say the engineering force now is being laid off and the indians are coming to work instead for a fraction of the salary and no restrictions…..that is worse than the illegals …but NOBODY is doing anything about it……

          • avatar

            by the way the indians are coming and no plans to stay…meaning not even an H1 visa…..just get paid less and then they leave and outsourced the jobs elsewhere………really

            how about Lenovo Apple…..most of their work force is overseas…..but yet you guys buy their products….WAIT WAT….NO!! the illegals are to blame…..history being repeated…blame the little people nothing to do and the big fish walk away…….

            no need to answer me…..just think ….

          • avatar

            The 8 million illegal aliens currently working represent about 6% of the total US workforce. It is of course a MUCH higher percentage of the lower skilled workforce. As a rough guess considering the education & skill level, I would guess that illegal aliens are about 18% of the lower skilled work force. THAT causes a MAJOR impact on competitive wages. Only 3% of illegal aliens work in agriculture. (page 26)
            Illegal aliens make up about 19% of the agricultural workforce. They are more than 27% of the construction drywall workers and have driven wages down significantly. (page 27)
            Obviously, if 27% of the workforce is illegal (drywall construction workers), there will be a depression of wages and working conditions according to Economics 101: Supply & Demand. Any depression of wages/conditions due to illegal labor is both illegal and immoral.

          • avatar

            Frank M. cheap labor has always been part of our system……………what is illegal an immoral is abusing the illegals, two wrongs do not make it right…..besides…….those number numbers off….2015…….& t=you forgot the only reason is because we given them jobs ….where this who do that become wealthy………..