Roughly 1.3 million fewer native-born Americans have jobs today than had jobs in 2000, even though their working-age, native-born population has grown by 16.4 million, according to a new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies.
In contrast, 5.3 million new immigrants have won jobs since 2000, while the nation’s working-age immigrant population has grown by 8.8 million, said the report.
The July 3 report was touted by Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, who led the opposition in the Senate to the pending immigration rewrite.
“The economic problem facing America right now is not too few workers, but too many unemployed workers,” he said in a July 3 statement.
“The Senate immigration bill massively increases the supply of lower-skilled foreign workers, which would produce lower wages and higher unemployment… Polls clearly show the American people don’t support such an approach,” said Sessions.
Advocates for the bill say it’s needed to provide new workers to spur the U.S. economy. “To grow economically, the nation needs more young workers, as the population is aging and its growth is slowing… America’s educational system produces only a fraction of the high-skilled workers required for technology jobs,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a June 30 article in the Wall Street Journal.
In June, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer, who led the development of the far-reaching immigration bill, called the controversial overhaul “a boon to our economy.”
The split over immigration and jobs reflects a widening divide between two wings of the GOP.
The GOP’s populist wing says defeat of the Senate bill would help lower unemployment and increase wages. That policy would boost GOP support among all lower-income voters, and also curb the progressives’ use of ethnic and racial wedge-issues that keep conservative-minded Latinos from voting GOP, according to these advocates.
The business wing of the GOP favors high levels of immigration. These advocates say the immigration bill will get Latino wedge issues off the table for 2016, demonstrate GOP support for Latinos and also bolster support among middle-class workers by boosting the economy.
The CIS report says post-2000 immigration of 16 million people didn’t boost job growth for native-born Americans.
“The last 13 years or even the last five years make clear that large-scale immigration can go hand in hand with weak job growth and persistently high rates of joblessness among the native-born,” said the report.
Since 2000, “the share of natives working has declined for teenagers and those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s… [and] the decline has been especially pronounced for workers under age 30,” said the report.
The only age-group of natives that gained jobs since 2000 are people older than 65, said the report. “There were 974,000 more natives (16-plus) of all ages working in 2013 than in 2000,” it said.
‘The total number of working-age (16 to 65) natives not working — unemployed or out of the labor force entirely — was nearly 59 million in the first quarter of this year, a figure that has changed little in the last three years and is nearly 18 million larger than in 2000,” the report said.
The Senate bill, which was approved by 68 to 32, would boost immigration to 46 million people by 2033, and double the annual inflow of low-skill and university-trained guest workers to more than one million. Polls show the influx is not popular.
A June 16 report by the Congressional Budget Office said the influx would nudge up unemployment and nudge down the average wage for 10 years, and lower workers’ share of income for at least 20 years.