The economy has fewer jobs today than it did in 2000, despite the factthat the “labor force has grown by around 12 million workers since then.
Last week, while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Guadalajara, Mexico, President Barack Obama predicted Congress would pass an amnesty bill next year to legalize more than 12 million illegal aliens who are presently in the United States. (ABC News, August 11, 2009 and The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2009).
While in Mexico, President Obama stated: “Secretary Napolitano is coordinating these discussions, and I would anticipate that before the year is out we will have draft legislation along with sponsors potentially in the House and the Senate who are ready to move this forward, and when we come back next year, that we should be in a position to start acting.” The President also conceded that overcoming the opposition of the American people to an amnesty bill would be difficult, saying: “Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No. This is going to be difficult.” (ABC News, August 11, 2009). The Los Angeles Times even suggested that passing the bill would “prove [to be] a major political test.”Mexican government officials were upset with this timing. According to media reports, Mexican Senator Carlos Navarrete of the “leftist Democratic Revolution Party” responded to Obama’s announcement by saying: “This is not good news,” and also stated “we can hope that Latino Congress members who have taken on this initiative [of immigration reform] will maintain their activism in this matter.” (The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2009).
The people who should be the most upset by this announcement, however, are the American people, particularly those who are out of work. America has a real shortage of jobs, and the idea that Congress would consider amnesty legislation, thereby giving illegal aliens the ability to openly compete for scarce jobs, is not in the best interest of the American worker. (See FAIR’s Report Amnesty & Joblessness, July 2009). In fact, earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden even suggested that America’s economic situation is at odds with President Obama’s goal of signing amnesty legislation. (See FAIR’s Legislative Update, April 6, 2009).
More recently, The New York Times opinion page expressed just how dire America’s job situation is. Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert wrote that “the American economy does not seem able to provide enough jobs — and nowhere near enough good jobs — to maintain the standard of living that most Americans have come to expect.” Herbert’s column states that the U.S. economy has lost 6.7 million jobs since December 2007 and that the economy has fewer jobs today than it did in 2000, despite the fact that the “labor force has grown by around 12 million workers since then.” Coincidentally, nearly 12 million illegal aliens are in the United States, with nearly 8.3 million in the workforce. Herbert also stated that “[n]o one is predicting a recovery in the foreseeable future powerful enough to replace the millions of jobs that have vanished,” further calling into question the wisdom of any amnesty legislation and undercutting any calls for a “guest worker” program as part of any immigration bill. (The New York Times, August 10, 2009).