Without distinguishing between legal and illegal, the migrant lobby bootstrapped itself onto International Workers’ Day to demand the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, drivers’ licenses for all and sanctuary policies from sea to shining sea.
In fact, historically high levels of immigration are the enemy of U.S. workers. According to the Pew Research Center, “Today’s average hourly wage has just about the same purchasing power it did in 1978,” when the current immigration wave started to build.
In an article titled “Yes, Immigration Hurts American Workers,” Harvard economist George Borjas reported that real wages have slumped as migration levels soared.
“Because a disproportionate percentage of immigrants have few skills, low-skilled American workers, including many blacks and Hispanics, have suffered most,” Borjas wrote.
Citing census data, Borjas found that legal immigrants lacking a high school diploma have swelled the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent during the past two decades. “As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year,” the economist said.
Borjas did not account for illegal immigrants, whose educational and skill levels are generally well below those of legal immigrants.
None of this helps America’s working classes. Still, immigration enthusiasts, including fellow travelers at the libertarian Cato Institute, persist in peddling the fiction that ever more foreign labor must be imported and accommodated to keep the U.S. economy going.
The Center for Immigration Studies this month found no empirical evidence of a “labor shortage” in which employers need immigration to fill jobs because they are unable to find American workers. Jason Richwine, an independent policy analyst and the author of the report, said, “When employers tell us that they cannot find workers, what they really mean is that they cannot find workers willing to work for the low wage they’d like to pay.”
“The percentage of working-age Americans not in the labor force remains significantly below the level from the year 2000,” Richwine noted. To honor labor, he suggested that “employers should try to bring those Americans back first before they look to immigration.”
As for the May Day street rabble, may we recommend fewer stanzas of “The International” and a bit more compassion for the toiling classes here at home?