Oh the naivete of it all! Imagine you have 160 million people longing to migrate to the U.S... That is the approximate number of people potentially seeking refuge in our country. I don't blame them. If I lived in Mexico, Kenya or Guatemala, or any of a thousand places, I would want to live here too. But, it should be obvious, that this isn't possible. It should also be obvious that when you increase competition in the labor force by flooding the U.S. with mostly poor workers who have limited skills and education, something's gotta give.
But hey, our unemployment situation at home has gotten better. Right now unemployment's at nearly a decade low, down to about 6%, so maybe we can absorb all those new workers.
This is where naivete comes into play.
The U.S. currently has the lowest labor participation rate since 1979. What's the difference between being unemployed and non-participation in the labor force? It's simple really. If you receive unemployment benefits, you're unemployed. If you don't receive unemployment benefits, you aren't. In other words, if your unemployment benefits run out, but you're still without a job, the government no longer recognizes you as being unemployed. You are then conveniently removed from the unemployment roles. That's how the government's numbers work.
There are plenty of people who aren't eligible for unemployment benefits to begin with, though, so, technically speaking, they have a job, even if they really don't. That's why the government's statistics regarding who is actually participating in the labor force by having a job—and who was employed, but no longer is—is a more accurate measure of the nation's job market.
Using REAL numbers, instead of SELECTIVE numbers gives us a much clearer picture. From this perspective, about 100 million Americans of employment age are no longer working. Some, certainly have retired, but a disturbing number represent the long-term unemployed. The reduction in unemployment, then, is to no small degree, made up of people who could work, but can't find a job and were forced into some form of involuntary retirement. It also includes people who are marginally employed. Meaning; workers who were employed full-time, but have been relegated to part-time work or temporary jobs. Among young, unemployed African American males those numbers are an astronomical 25 to 30%.
For all those who are justly angry about low wages among unskilled workers, this will only make things worse. That is the nature of increasing competition at the low end of the economic scale.
There has been a substantial increase in the number of people receiving disability, as well. And, there has been about a two hundred billion dollar a year increase in welfare and other subsidies for the poor, which are now the largest part of the Federal budget, exceeding even the military. Oh, and food stamp recipients have increased by another 20 million, give or take. So, another five million mouths to feed, house and clothe, well, that's nothing. America can do that standing on her head! At least, that's what some folks would have you believe. Most of the folks out there struggling to make ends meet, though, with multiple generations living together under one roof, are proof enough of just how untrue this is.
Let me be clear, I have no ill will towards immigrants, legal or otherwise. My grandparents were immigrants, so that isn't an issue. What is the issue? All of the above—and that's only a partial list of rational concerns. For the true believers, they will buy into the presidents placing the onus back on congress for dragging their feet. However, the real truth is, the president had a majority in both houses when he was first elected and could have easily passed immigration reform, but didn't. This, in spite of the fact that he promised to do so in his first year in office. But, apparently, he was busy, so what can I say.
For republicans, this is a lose, lose situation. Make no mistake, that's what this is really all about. Just go back and watch the twenty-plus speeches made by the president (all of which are on video) over the last six years, stating without equivocation that he has no authority to do, what he just did. “He isn't, after all, a king or emperor!” Those are his words, not mine. But I have no faith that the discussion will go that deep. In politics, it almost never does. The apologists will come out in numbers, making all necessary apologies, disguised as legal arguments, of course. Fortunately, as an Ally, we have our president and chief, the Harvard legal scholar as a witness for the prosecution--his prosecution. This, however, won't matter, one damn bit. For the true believers, it never does.