Opinion

Illegal Immigration Hurts Young Americans The Most

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John Conlin President, E.I.C Enterprises
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Every year about 4 million American youngsters move on from high school.  On average just over 80% of them graduate and the others, around 760,000 each and every year, just move on.  Unfortunately the economic futures of those who don’t obtain a high school diploma are rather bleak.  They are made bleaker in that they will in all likelihood be competing for jobs against millions of illegal immigrants who are willing to work for far below market wages.

Of those who do graduate high school, around 2/3rds will attend college.  Thus just over 1 million high school graduates won’t attempt to attend college.  Of those who go to college, 40% won’t graduate in a 6 year time span, adding another 864,000 to the list of folks who either never attended or graduated from college.

So in total, every year we have about 2.6 million American non-college graduates who must find employment of some kind.  What economic futures are we leaving to these unfortunate individuals?

Not that long ago one could make a pretty good living swinging a hammer in the construction trade.  Not anymore.  And construction is a big employer; over 6.6 million work in the fields.

Although you can find many “academic” studies that purport to show illegal immigrants don’t take jobs from Americans, one piece in Forbes magazine actually makes the case they actually raise wages, those of us who live in the real world know this is BS.

I have a high school friend who used to hang drywall.  When the illegals took over the construction trades he saw piece rates cut by 1/3rd.  How would you like a 1/3rd cut in pay?  And regardless of what the studies say, Spanish has become the primary language on almost every construction site in the country.  The same is happening in the oil patch and industries across the country.

[dcquiz] So either the good ol’ American boys and girls who used to swing a hammer have taken a deep and abiding interest in learning Spanish and listening to Spanish radio or they have been replaced by folks whose primary language is Spanish.  Which do you think is most likely?  Of course not remotely all Spanish speakers are in this country illegally but the vast majority of those in this country illegally do have Spanish as their primary language.

And this depressing of wages doesn’t just occur at the low end.  It pulls wages down across the board; my personal estimate after 30 years of management consulting across the country is by $2 to $4 per hour for almost all positions.

But those who blame the illegals are blaming the wrong folks.  As a country we have had the welcome mat out for these people for a long time.  They might not have been welcomed through the front door but they were welcomed nonetheless.  Sanctuary cities, non-enforcement of immigration laws, even driver’s licenses.  So from a prospective illegal immigrant’s viewpoint, how freaking illegal can it really be?  Blame the politicians from both parties who fostered this process, not the people who answered the call.

But the fact remains Mexico has exported around 10% of their population to this country.  Monetary remittances back to Mexico are just under $25 billion annually; making this a larger source of foreign income than Mexico’s entire oil and gas industry!  That’s $25 billion annually which won’t be circulating in this country; further impoverishing those areas where illegal immigrants are most concentrated.

Hillary Clinton has said in private that she dreams of a western hemisphere with no borders.  I doubt if she would feel the same if she and her children were one of the 2.6 million Americans who face an economic future of competing for jobs against people who at home might make 8 bucks a day.

2.6 million young American citizens, each and every year.  And what are we leaving them and their children?  Something to think about the next time someone brings up the subject of open borders.

John Conlin is the founder and President of End The Education Plantation, www.EndtheEducationPlantation.org, a non-profit striving to bring freedom and choice to all K-12 public education students.