4 Million Migrants Legally Entered America’s Labor Market in 2016—Causing Unemployment & Lower Wages for American Citizens
According to recently released data from the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 4 million people legally migrated into the US in 2016 for the purposes of working in America.
Of these people some 1.1 million were new (legal) immigrants, 2.3 million arrived with temporary work permits, and 500,000 were outsourcing visa workers (for example H-1B visas). This, of course, does not include the influx of illegal immigrants into the country, which is considerable.
Although this is a longstanding problem, it picked up significant traction under President Obama. As Breitbart reports:
Obama’s government hurt young Americans’ by expanding the labor supply via several mechanisms:
Annually providing green cards to roughly 1 million legal immigrants, 90 percent of whom will enter the workforce. The current population of legal immigrants in the United States is roughly 30 million.
Providing work-permits to a wide array of temporary outsourcing workers, which creates a resident army of roughly 1.1 million outsourcing workers. That population includes at least 461,000 H-1B white collar professionals, 95,000 H-2B blue collar seasonal workers, 76,000 H-2A agricultural workers, 215,000 J-1 seasonal workers and 311,000 L-1 white-collar and blue-collar workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Ordering immigration officials to largely ignore the population of roughly 8 million established or recent illegal immigrants. Roughly 40 percent of the illegals are “overstays” who did not leave the country when their tourist visas and work permits expired.
Boosting the number of work-permit workers from 1.33 million in 2012 to 2.3 million in 2016.
The canny reader will note that the problem is even bigger than what Breitbart claims, as the true number of legal immigrants currently living in America is over 42 million (one-third higher than the 30 million reported), and the number of illegal aliens is, at the very least, 11 million.
Either way, things were bad, and Obama made them worse.
Given the massive influx of foreign workers into America, is it any wonder that the real unemployment rate for US citizens hovers around 13%, that workforce participation is declining, or that millennials are worse off than were their parents at the same age?
Of course not. It’s basic supply and demand: more workers means lower wages, and fewer job opportunities—just look at how wages increased, and unemployment decreased, in Maine when it suffered a shortage of temporary foreign workers.
The hard truth is that the government often works closely with big business to ensure there is ready access to cheap immigrant labor—even if it comes directly at the expense of American workers.
A good example is the Summer Work Travel Program, wherein the US government helps find jobs for some 100,000 foreign students, while American students are given no such help. In fact, American students are at a severe disadvantage since the government provides benefits to companies hiring foreign students.
Thankfully the paradigm is beginning to shift under President Trump, who’s cracking down on illegal immigration in a big way, and has likewise thrown his support behind the RAISE Act, which will transform America’s legal immigration system.