American Elephants

The Administration Wants Immigrants, Shows No Concern for the Jobless by The Elephant's Child

We have added more than eight million people to the working-age population of the United States since 2007. Yet half-a-million fewer people are employed. 531 fewer people have jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes anyone over 16, excluding inmates in penal or mental facilities, and active duty members of the Armed Forces. For their analysis, the Budget Committee compared data from the Labor Department and the Commerce Department manually to exclude persons over 65.

The first Baby Boomers began retiring three years ago. In today’s economy, some may be reluctant to retire, and in some professions there is no push to retire. I would guess that more people are currently unwilling to retire at 65 than might normally be the case. Statistics are one thing, and the real world is another.

Employers, especially in high technology, are pressing Congress to increase the number of people admitted on H-1B visas. The administration on Wednesday, presumably in response to employer demands, proposed to give perhaps 100,000 additional foreign workers, none being admitted because of their skills, permission to work in the United States. These are not highly skilled workers—these are their wives already living in the United States—H-4 spouses, most are women and most from India because most H-1B workers are from that country.

It just seems as if we should sharply reduce the numbers of our unemployed before we increase either the H-1B workers or their wives. We have an excess of STEM graduates who can’t find STEM jobs. Perhaps the High Tech companies could start their own training classes if our STEM grads don’t have the right skills — or are the H-1B workers willing to work for a lot less money?

In a period of high unemployment it seems as if we should make jobs for our own people first. I welcome legal immigrants, and believe they add vitality to our communities, but it is not racist or hateful to believe that Americans should get first crack at the jobs before we increase immigration numbers.

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