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J.D. FOSTER: Migrants Are Getting Jobs. Check Out The Data

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J.D. Foster J.D. Foster is the former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget and former chief economist and senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He now resides in relative freedom in the hills of Idaho.
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Total U.S. employment as of March reached almost 161.5 million, or roughly 3 million above the pre-pandemic peak according to the BLS Household Survey. Understandably, President Biden crows about this a lot.  What his staff surely never tell him–or he conveniently forgets–is that about 3.3 million of those newly employed individuals were foreign born.

That’s right. Total employment by native-born Americans is actually down by 300,000 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

To be sure, some of those 3.3 million foreign-born individuals now working in America are naturalized citizens and some are in the country as lawful permanent residents, aka “green card” holders, but a significant number and probably the vast majority are in the country illegally.

This almost has to be true. According to common estimates, roughly 10 million people have crossed into the United States illegally under Biden’s open borders policy. While some may have left again, that leaves many millions still in the U.S. While some turn to crime to support themselves, the vast majority surely need to work to survive.

The proposition that much of the recent increase in U.S. employment reflects illegals finding work is intuitive to the point of being obvious, but it raises a couple questions. First, as BLS describes the survey process, an address, not a person or family is chosen as the subject for the survey. An initial interview is performed at that address, usually in person and on location, and then the same respondents are surveyed by telephone for the next three months.

How likely is it that a person in the country illegally would voluntarily provide extensive personal and demographic information to a government agent? Such an illegal would need a high degree of confidence that arrest and deportation would not soon follow. Under Biden, that confidence would not be misplaced.

A second question is about these individuals’ employers. Under federal law, employers are supposed to screen job applicants to confirm the individual is qualified to work in the United States. This includes presenting appropriate identification such as a driver’s license, passport, ID card with photograph, etc. Failure to perform this check responsibly can result in criminal charges against the employer leading to up to 6 months in jail.

If millions of people in the country illegally are working to support themselves, then a large number of employers are ignoring the law regarding unauthorized workers. Why would employers risk jail if they thought they might get caught? They wouldn’t. These employers know that open borders Joe has made it plain to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that they should find something better to do.

Joe Biden, like many politicians these days, likes to talk about bringing jobs home. The implication is that these jobs were held by foreigners abroad. The top-line data suggests he has been somewhat successful, except that the jobs he has brought home from Mexico, Venezuela, and China are now held by Mexicans, Venezuelans, and Chinese in the United States. Native-born Americans? Not so much.

It all fits: Open borders, so little fear of deportation that workers in the country illegally will even participate in lengthy government surveys, employers hiring illegals illegally, and ICE overwhelmed at the border and on stand-down regarding employers.

One other piece of the puzzle fits perfectly: Biden can’t figure out why his polling of voters is so deep in the dumps. Didn’t he fund a bridge nearby as former Biden advisor Ron Klain laments? In addition to nil border security and inflation-ravaged family incomes, Biden can add a drop in employment by native-born Americans to the list of explanations. If only illegals could vote…oops.

J.D. Foster is the former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget and former chief economist and senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He now resides in relative freedom in the hills of Idaho.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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