Op-Ed

Immigrants get work permits, Americans get worked up

TNS

Francisco, or “Cisco” as he’s known to his friends, is an American in his early 30s. Two years ago, he was laid off from his longtime job at a hardware store and has had no luck since finding a replacement. Construction gigs around the area, he laments, often go to immigrants willing to work for far less. Cisco has largely given up on the job search and now mostly spends time living in his parents’ cramped Miami home, caring for his mentally ailing father.

Amanda, a restaurant hostess on South Beach, constantly worries about her own job, noting: “Every week I see immigrants come into the restaurant asking my manager for a job. I want to be full time, but I don’t see how that’s ever going to happen with all this competition.”

Cisco and Amanda’s plight is not uncommon, especially in the Miami area. A study last year by job-search website Indeed found that Miami is the toughest city in the nation in which to find a job. And the unemployment rate in Miami, as of December 2014, was 6.7 percent, significantly higher than the statewide rate 5.6 percent.

Why?

Immigration might have something to do with it. Apart from New York City, Miami has the largest number of immigrants in the nation, more than even Los Angeles or Houston. While correlation does not always indicate causation, on economic matters it often does. Though amnesty proponents undoubtedly try to obfuscate the matter, it isn’t rocket science: Unless a critical mass of immigrants’ activity is significantly contributing to and growing the economy, more individuals competing for X number of jobs leads to greater unemployment.

National unemployment faces a crisis of its own. While Democrats cheerily proclaim the recent 5.6-percent unemployment rate, it is a farce. Last week, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton bravely wrote and posted an oped titled: The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment. In it, Clifton explains what conservatives have argued for years: The rosy unemployment figures are low only because they do not count those who have given up on looking for work and those who are severely unemployed (i.e., looking for full-time work but stuck in part-time or working as little as one hour per week). These forgotten unemployed categories constitute as many as 30 million Americans.

Clifton says: “There's no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed, as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.”

So it is with great shock we learned, the very same week Clifton lifted the veil on the unemployment numbers, that the Obama administration, since 2009, issued work permits to an astonishing 5.5 million foreigners, in addition to our already generous issuance of work permits to 1 million annual legal immigrants and 700,000 annual guest workers.

According to a Center for Immigration Studies report, almost 2 million recipients were here on temporary visas, a majority of whom fell into categories for which employment is not authorized, such as tourist or student visas. Roughly 150,000 work permits were issued to students’ and guest workers’ dependents. Almost 1 million were issued to aliens who crossed into the United States illegally and almost 2 million to those who immigration status was “unknown.”

Does one laugh or cry at this point? Is it any wonder that all net gains in jobs since 2007 have gone to immigrants (both legal and illegal)?

Pro-amnesty politicians rarely mention work permits — it’s the inconvenient secret when trying to convince the American public that, as Obama fibbed in his November address, “All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.” (No, that’s not all — he forgot to mention work permits). And polling firms, often hired by pro-amnesty groups, will cleverly omit any mention of work-permit benefits when asking Americans where they stand on immigration.

That is to say nothing of the disproportionate effect that granting work permits to foreigners has on minority communities. The official unemployment rate for African Americans is 10.6 percent and for blacks teens between 16 and 19, it is 29.7 percent.

Do the math: Notwithstanding some overlap, we are issuing 5.5 million work permits to foreign nationals over a mere six years; 1.1 million to legal immigrants and 700,000 guest workers annually; more than 1 million via Obama’s 2012 “DACA” action; and potentially 5 million via his 2014 immigration executive action. All this as millions of Americans languish in unemployment.

While the Obama administration seemingly shouts “Let them eat cake!” to unemployed Americans, doing the bidding of Big Business donors and attempting to create future Democratic voters, remind me again how this is the party fighting for the little guy?

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