Letter: Immigration reform would worsen unemployment

Nov. 16, 2013 @ 06:42 AM

To the editor:

I read of the disturbing unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan era -- 10.1 percent, versus 7.3 percent for the overall population (News-Topic, Nov. 10) -- and ask a question: What is the impact of immigration policy on the problem?

Immigration affects everything. So it must impact unemployment rates. Let's illustrate with President Obama's top domestic priority for his second term, "immigration reform."

President Obama is close to victory on immigration, a victory on the scale as his Obamacare victory in his first term. A 1,200-page “immigration reform” bill, S. 744, that he strongly supports has passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. All 54 Senate Democrats, including North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, voted for S. 744.

But the president has a problem. S. 744 is stalled in the Republican-led House of Representatives. Despite intense pressure on the GOP from business lobbies eager to expand the pool of cheap foreign workers -- good for the bottom line -- and despite heavy pressure from Latino groups eager to expand their political and demographic clout, the GOP has -- so far -- refused to cave.

Let's pose "what if" question. "What if" the GOP caves -- or loses the House of Representatives -- and Democrats and their allies, the newspaper chains, and corporate lobbies eager for cheap labor and President Obama get what they want on immigration? What would their "immigration reform" mean for U. S. unemployment rates?

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that S. 744 will decrease average wages in America for the next 12 years and increase unemployment for the next seven.

There we have it. We have an answer to our "what if" question. For now unemployment rates and average wages for veterans and every other demographic group are bad. They are not as bad as they will be if Democrats get what they want on "immigration reform."

Rule of thumb: When you hear presidents, business lobbies, ethnocentric groups and Democrats chatting up "immigration reform," go on red alert. They are up to no good.

Tom Shuford