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  1. #1
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    Business & Labor on Immigration:Contrasting Views of Lea

    Because so much information relating to the following findings are presented in table form, and because of the numerous links contained within the "End Notes", it is suggested that this report is best read in its original form. The source link is given below at the conclusion.

    Business and Labor on Immigration Contrasting Views of Leaders vs. Rank and File

    By Steven A. Camarota
    February 2010

    Backgrounders and Reports
    Download a pdf of this Backgrounder ... n_poll.pdf


    Steven A. Camarota is the Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies.


    A new Zogby poll of senior executives, business owners, and members of union households finds that each of these groups thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country is to enforce the law and cause them to return home. This is in stark contrast to lobbyists for large companies, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argue for legalization. The findings of the survey are consistent with surveys done by the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small enterprises, showing strong opposition to legalization. Among unions, the leadership strongly supports legalizing illegal immigrants, but the survey shows enforcement — not legalization — is by far the option favored by union members and their families. The survey uses neutral language and includes 7,046 members of union households, 2,490 executives (e.g., CEOs, CFOs, VPs or department heads), and 9,990 small business owners.

    Among the findings:

    When asked to choose between enforcement that would cause illegal immigrants in the country to go home or offering them a pathway to citizenship with conditions, most members of the business community and unions choose enforcement.

    Executives (e.g. CEOs, CFOs, VPs etc.): 59 percent support enforcement to encourage illegals to go home; 30 percent support conditional legalization.

    Small Business Owners: 67 percent support enforcement; 22 percent support conditional legalization.

    Union Households: 58 percent support enforcement; 28 percent support conditional legalization.

    One of the most interesting findings of the survey is that members of the business community think there are plenty of Americans available to fill unskilled jobs. Union members feel the same way.

    Executives: 16 percent said legal immigration should be increased to fill unskilled jobs, 61 percent said there are plenty of Americans available to do unskilled jobs, employers just need to pay more.

    Small Business Owners: 13 percent said increase immigration; 65 percent said plenty of Americans are available.

    Union Households: 10 percent said increase immigration; 72 percent said plenty of Americans are available.

    Most members of the business community and union households do not feel that illegal immigration is caused by limits on legal immigration, as many of their lobbyists argue; instead, members feel it is due to a lack of enforcement.

    Executives: Just 13 percent said illegal immigration is caused by not letting in enough legal immigrants; 75 percent said inadequate enforcement.

    Small Business Owners: 10 percent said not enough legal immigration; 79 percent said inadequate

    Union Households: 13 percent said not enough legal immigration; 74 percent said inadequate enforcement efforts.
    In contrast to many business groups and union leaders, most executives and union members think immigration is too high.

    Executives: 63 percent said it is too high; 5 percent said too low; 16 percent said just right.

    Small Business Owners: 70 percent said it is too high; 4 percent said too low; 13 percent said just right.

    Union Households: 63 percent said immigration is too high; 5 percent said too low; 14 percent said just right.

    While it is often assumed that the business community wants to legalize illegal immigrants and increase the level of legal immigration in the future, a new Zogby poll indicates that this is a minority position among top executives and small business owners. The reason for this mistaken impression is that a number of politically influential business lobbying organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Association of Home Builders have all endorsed legalization and increased future immigration.1 It is important to note that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which is by far the largest organization representing small businesses, has not endorsed this position and, in fact, endorsed legislation that would have increased immigration enforcement efforts. Part of the reason for this is that NFIB, unlike other business associations, surveys its members and asks them what positions they should take on controversial subjects. NFIB’s surveys show strong support for immigration enforcement and strong opposition to legalization, which explains its position on immigration. The Zogby poll confirms this finding, with small business owners wanting enforcement, not legalization.

    The union movement has reversed its long-standing position that high levels of immigration are bad for labor, and in recent years has become an important part of the coalition critical of almost every enforcement effort and in favor of legalizing illegal immigrants. This is true both of the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), part of the Change to Win coalition, has been at the forefront of this argument. The union movement generally has been critical of guestworker proposals, but supportive of efforts to increase permanent immigration.

    Business Organizations’ Positions

    The business community in the United States is diverse and it is difficult to generalize about its position on any issue. But, with the notable exception of NFIB, the major business organizations discussed below do share several common beliefs. First, while they all briefly mention that immigration enforcement is necessary, they are critical of most enforcement efforts and argue that enforcement in general has failed. Second, all endorse legalizing illegal immigrants with conditions. Third, they all share a belief that illegal immigration is caused at least in part by not letting in enough immigrant workers legally. As a result, they all call for changes in policy that would increase the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country to work. In particular they often mention unskilled workers who do jobs that require relatively little education, often on a seasonal basis, as being especially needed.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The largest business association representing large companies is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They have put out numerous statements, reports, press releases, and congressional testimonies on the need to legalize illegal immigrants and to increase legal immigration. The Chamber feels very strongly that there are not enough Americans to do jobs that require relatively little education. They have repeatedly stated that one of the reasons for illegal immigration is that not enough legal immigrants are allowed into the United States. In congressional testimony the Chamber stated, “We face a larger and larger shortage of workers, especially at the low-skilled end of the economy.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    This conclusion is something similar to the disconnect between church leaders and the members of the church, those sitting in the pews. The agenda drives the actions and the words, not the truth of the situation.

    Psalm 91
    Jeremiah 29:11 - It is written, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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