Are Immigrants Truly ‘Working Jobs Americans Don’t Want?’

“Immigrants are working jobs that Americans won’t touch” is one of the anti-borders syndicate’s favorite rallying cries. First of all, that assumption is disrespectful to immigrants, as it insinuates they occupy a class below American citizens. But more importantly, it’s a false statement.

Both legal and illegal aliens are often manipulated into working jobs that pay less than market value because of their limited options and skill sets. Even so, the industries where immigrants are most often employed still consist of mostly native workers.

A study conducted by Pew Research found that the top ten industries and occupational groups for immigrants (including illegal immigrants) consist mostly of American natives. For example, the farming, fishing and forestry industries are increasingly occupied by immigrants, but 54 percent of those working these jobs are American citizens.

This doesn’t mean that immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, aren’t increasingly competing with American workers for jobs at a time when the U-6 unemployment rate – which includes discouraged workers and those who are working part time for economic reasons –  remains unacceptably high. In fact, according to the same Pew study, between 1995 and 2014, the share of jobs held by immigrants in the United States rose at least 5 percent. And immigrants, along with their U.S.-born children, are projected to be the leading driver of the working-age population growth through at least 2035. This means American citizens will face even more intense competition for employment.

What these numbers do show is that Americans are still willing to work just about any job despite the fact that the anti-border enforcement camp has deemed them fit only for illegal aliens. With the U-6 unemployment rate at nearly 10 percent, millions of Americans are looking for jobs, and they don’t mind honest hard work or getting their hands dirty. In fact, the Federation for American Immigration Reform found that the unemployment rates in states that require use of E-Verify, thereby forcing employers to hire legal U.S. workers, are recovering fastest from the 2008 recession.

Placing American workers first means ensuring they only have to compete with those who are authorized to be employed here. It also means that our immigration system must consider the economic interests of U.S. citizens first. Americans want to work, so new and existing immigration policies must not stifle citizen employment opportunities.

About Author



  1. avatar

    Spencer, does FAIR have recommendations for how to resolve the complex Issues of undocumented immgrants? What are the solutions now being proposed – are they to prevent new people from arriving or literally removing millions of current undocumented immigrants from the US? I’m not sure what this organization wishes to see happen to these people. Are you advocating for those already established here to have a means to be able to live and work here legally!

  2. avatar

    A just released study by the consulting firm PWC forecasts that 38% of American jobs are at “high risk” of automation by 2030. The pro-immigration side keeps pushing their dusty musty hundred year old theories of immigration when we needed more manual labor because most jobs required that. That time is long past. Even such things as a car repair have changed. Frequently a mechanic replaced a physical part to correct a problem and it took him time to do that, but cars are now in many parts computers. Many times it’s as simple as downloading a patch to a program. I had a throttle problem that was fixed by exactly that. We need less workers not more.

  3. avatar

    So Spencer, what are the American working demographics in age for the 330M. What is the working population number n from it…For ex 50M only work..from there….What do you do consider an immigrant? ….What about the children of illegals, one parent illegal and one parent that came here to stay but legal?

    The reason aim asking I read your article but I find myself a the questions above so therefore no accuracy n precision on reality.

  4. avatar

    Obama was officially warned:

    “Civil Rights Commissioner Warns Obama Executive Amnesty Will Hurt Black, STEM Workers”

    “I write to express my concern regarding reports that you plan on issuing an executive order that purports to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants after the November elections. My concerns center around the effect such grant of legal status will have on two subsets of American workers: low-skilled workers: particularly low-skilled black workers, and high-skilled STEM workers.”

    Here’s the US Commission on Civil Rights’ (USCCR) case against illegal immigration:

    The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers (all quoted directly)

    Illegal immigration to the United States in recent decades has tended to depress both wages and employment rates for low-skilled American citizens, a disproportionate number of whom are black men (p3).

    Dr. Hanson‘s coauthored research suggested that a 10 percent immigrant-induced increase in the labor supply is associated with a 4 percent decrease in black wages, a 3.5 percent decrease in the black employment rate, and a 0.8 percent increase in the black incarceration rate (p5).

    These adjustments account for about 40 percent of the overall 18 percent decline in black employment rates and 10 of the 20 percentage point increase in the incarceration rate of black high school dropouts over the same period. Dr. Hanson noted that this influx reduced the employment rate of low- skill black men by eight percentage points (p6).

    In both his written and oral testimony, Professor Briggs stated that no issue has negatively ―affected the economic well-being of African Americans more than immigration. … Dr. Briggs viewed such losses as a denial of basic civil rights and economic opportunity (p7).

    Dr. Briggs stated that about 12 million illegal immigrants are currently in the U.S. labor market, … and that in his view, further legalization of such immigrants with family reunification would be economically devastating to low-wage workers of all races and black workers in particular(p8).

    Dr. Briggs also stated that the inflow of immigrants has resulted in low-skilled wages not rising over time. He viewed the reduction of both wages and jobs as a massive violation of the civil rights of all low-skilled workers, and of black workers in particular. He recommended, therefore, that the federal government
    should adhere to the findings of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX): ―People who should get in, do get in; people who should not get in, are kept out; and people who are judged deportable, are required to leave (p9).

    Dr. Briggs objected strongly to what he viewed as the use of public policy to drive down wages artificially. Dr. Jaynes agreed on that point, noting that this is indeed a civil rights issue, since such policy was being used to trample on the rights of all workers by driving down wages and avoiding employment rights. Vice Chair Thernstrom asked whether “artificial” was the correct word. Dr. Briggs responded that it was, since deliberate failure to enforce the law was responsible for the wage suppression, and such action was indefensible (p13).

  5. avatar

    And they know it too:

    The Liberal Case AGAINST Illegal Immigration:

    This is the Progressive Case AGAINST Illegal Immigration:
    The Conscience Of A Liberal–Paul Krugman

    “First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small.
    ” But as Mr. Hanson explains in his paper, reasonable calculations suggest that we’re talking about very small numbers, perhaps as little as 0.1 percent of GDP.

    “My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand…

    “Finally, the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear. ”
    Report: Obama’s Book Says Illegals Can Hurt Americans
    Didn’t anyone in the Hispanic media read Obama’s book? Or listen to when he speaks?
    Barack Obama in his own words from “The Audacity of Hope”
    – Illegal Immigration hurts Black Americans and Blue Collared Workers

    Video Not Working? I wonder why?!? Here’s an Audio Link:

  6. avatar

    Most Find Higher Paid Jobs to Replace Americans

    In construction, landscaping, truck driving, etc….the farm worker lie is just that…they like care giving, house cleaning, etc too…

    Or in MSFT’s case they in-source high school replacement jobs in IT. They won’t hire local kids…