A group fighting the immigration-reform bill in the House of Representatives argues that major corporations supporting the bill claim they are trying to broaden the American labor pool, but are really trying to drive down wages.
In a blog post for the “low immigration, pro-immigrant” Center for Immigration Studies, legal policy analyst John Feere noted that the same companies that have laid off thousands of American workers in the past year are now asking House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to pass the Senate immigration-reform bill because they need more workers with the education and talent to compete in the modern economy.
“These companies cite a recent Congressional Budget Office report, arguing that the Senate bill would grow the economy. They conveniently left out the CBO estimate that even though the amnesty might make the economy larger, it would simultaneously make American workers poorer by lowering the wages of American workers for a decade or more,” Feere wrote.
“It is difficult to understand how these companies can feel justified in demanding the importation of cheap labor with a straight face at a time when tens of millions of Americans are unemployed,” Feere wrote.
But in their letter, the executives wrote that their problem isn’t finding just finding people, it’s finding people with the education that make them worth hiring. They cited 2011 report from the HR Policy Association that recommended measure aimed at “attracting and retaining immigrants with strong science, technology engineering and math (STEM) skills.”
“Even with the economy still recovering, many of our companies continue to have difficulty finding sufficient American workers to fill certain lesser-skilled positions,” they wrote.
Feere doesn’t buy that argument.
In the post, he wrote that the unemployment pool covers all levels of the work force. The number of Americans aged 16 to 65 who are unemployed or out of the work force was 57.5 million in the second quarter of 2013, he wrote.
That number, he wrote, included “25 million with no more than a high school education, 16 million with some education beyond high school, and 9 million with at least a bachelor’s degree.”
“The companies claim the bill is an ‘opportunity to level the playing field for U.S. employers’ but it is more of an effort to level the wages of American citizens,” Feere wrote.