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    'Effective Amnesty' for illegal immigrants will mean fewer jobs for African-Americans

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times
    February 12, 2013, 06:29PM

    Two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to President Obama on Tuesday telling him that if he succeeds in enacting an “effective amnesty” for illegal immigrants, it will likely mean fewer jobs and lower pay for black Americans.

    Pointing to hearings the commission held in 2008, the two members — Peter Kirsanow and Abigail Thernstrom — said the economics of the situation are clear: Low-skilled blacks compete with low-skilled illegal immigrants, depressing wages.

    “The briefing witnesses, well-regarded scholars from leading universities and independent groups, were ideologically diverse. All the witnesses acknowledged that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both in terms of employment opportunities and wages,” the commissioners said.

    They said legalizing those workers doesn’t remove the competition, but does erase one competitive advantage legal residents have, which is that they can clear E-Verify, the voluntary system that allows employers to check to make sure their employees are authorized to work.

    “This levels the playing field a bit for African-Americans. If illegal immigrants are granted legal status, this small advantage disappears,” the commissioners said.

    Mr. Kirsanow and Ms. Thernstrom are both Republican presidential appointees to the eight-member board.

    'Effective Amnesty' for illegal immigrants will mean fewer jobs for African-Americans, two advocates warn - Washington Times
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    Illegal Immigration and Black Unemployment

    By Peter Kirsanow & Carissa Mulder
    February 18, 2013 11:26 A.M.
    National Review Online

    As politicians rush to grant effective amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, there’s one aspect of the “debate” over the issue that receives almost no attention from members of either party: the demonstrably deleterious effect illegal immigration has on the employment and wage levels of low-skilled Americans, particularly blacks.

    In 2008, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights examined the issue, conducting a hearing at which experts from across the political spectrum testified. As might be expected, there was some disagreement as to the precise magnitude of the impact of illegal immigration on black employment. But despite the ideological diversity on the panels, the witnesses were unanimous that illegal immigration has an adverse impact on black employment, reducing job opportunities and depressing wages — especially for black men.

    The reason illegal immigration hurts blacks is quite basic. Blacks, particularly black men, are disproportionately concentrated in the low-skill labor market and are disproportionately likely to have no more than a high-school diploma. Likewise, illegal immigrants are disproportionately male and also disproportionately likely to have minimal educational levels. Both groups compete with one another in the low-skill labor market (and the competition is most fierce in some of the very industries in which blacks historically have been highly concentrated). Blacks frequently lose that competition, crowded out by illegal immigrants who, for various reasons, are preferred by many employers. As Professor Vernon Briggs of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations noted, it’s not because low-skilled Americans — regardless of race — are unwilling to work, it’s that they’re unwilling to work at the cut-rate wages (and often substandard conditions) offered to illegal immigrants — a cohort highly unlikely to complain to the EEOC, OSHA, or the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.

    The impact of illegal immigration on the employment and wage levels of low-skilled workers is especially pronounced in today’s stagnant economy, even with a reduced influx of illegal immigrants. In 2007, the unemployment rate for blacks without a high-school diploma was 12.0 percent. By 2011 that rate had more than doubled to 24.6 percent. Obviously, the supply of low-skilled workers far exceeds the demand. This bodes ill for all such workers, but particularly black males, who, according to evidence adduced at the hearing, are significantly disfavored by employers in certain sectors of the economy.

    In a letter sent last week to President Obama, congressional leadership, and the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, my colleague Abigail Thernstrom and I noted the negative consequences of illegal immigration on wage levels. For example, a study done by an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimated that “as a result of the growth in the share of undocumented workers, the annual earnings of the average documented worker in Georgia in 2007 were 2.9 percent ($980) lower than they were in 2000. . . . Annual earnings for the average documented worker in the leisure and hospitality sector in 2007 were 9.1 percent ($1,520) lower than they were in 2000.”

    Again, the evidence before the U.S.Commission on Civil Rights shows that while the negative impact on black employment and wage levels was much more pronounced, illegal immigration hurts all low-skilled American workers. It’s peculiar, however, that those who can usually be counted on to highlight any disparity between blacks and whites — whatever the reason and no matter how slight the disparity – have said not a word about the effect of illegal immigration on blacks.

    Illegal Immigration and Black Unemployment - By Peter Kirsanow & Carissa Mulder - The Corner - National Review Online
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