Infrastructure Bill Builds a Bridge to Amnesty

Are illegal aliens “essential”? Backers of the massive $6 trillion infrastructure package in Congress think so, and they’re laying the foundation for a wide-ranging amnesty scheme.

Citing dubious claims that 74 percent of people illegally in this country are essential workers, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, hyperbolically declares: “The United States government deems these immigrants essential for keeping our country running and keeping Americans alive.”

As FAIR pointed out last December, illegal aliens make up barely 2 percent of the healthcare workforce in this country. But government statisticians stretch the essential-worker ranks by defining a “frontline” employee as anyone who does not have the ability to work from home.

Using those generous parameters, a Ukrainian stripper who overstays her tourist visa to ply her trade at a Hollywood nightclub could qualify as essential.

The widening classification of essential activity has become so broad as to lose all meaning. Thus, the pro-immigration Migration Policy Institute counts an estimated 1.4 million illegal aliens in the retail and food service sectors as “essential.”

While amnesty peddlers like Padilla contend that America’s economy would grind to a halt without illegal aliens, the highest job opening rates are in two quintessentially non-essential segments: arts/entertainment/recreation, including traveling carnivals (11.6 percent), and leisure/hospitality (10.1 percent).

Meantime, millions of foreign workers continue to fill the labor pool via legal channels. Every year, 1.2 million immigrants are given green cards to permanently resettle and work here. And each year, 1.4 million more foreign nationals receive visas entitling them to take American jobs.

Biden administration policies that sharply increase both legal and illegal immigration put relentless downward pressure on U.S. wages, effectively redistributing wealth from native-born workers.

Awarding amnesty to millions of illegal aliens – a move that encourages still more to come — is not helpful to American workers or this nation’s economy. It certainly is not essential.

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.