11.19.2014 0

Obama’s executive amnesty will not solve a thing

free_stuff_borderBy Robert Romano

President Barack Obama’s plan to offer amnesty to 4.5 million illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children appears to be doomed to failure for a very simple reason.

Giving somebody a temporary permit to work does not mean they will find a job or even follow the rules when the visa expires. Why?

There is already an easy way to qualify to work here, namely, to be sponsored by an employer.

Yet, an April 2013 survey of illegal immigrants revealed that 40 percent of the supposed 11 million population here are those who arrived legally but then simply overstayed their visas. Some of those were with work visas who either failed to renew or have expired. Meaning, they had an employer sponsor and no longer do.

Not to mention the millions more who never had an employer sponsor or even a visa to begin with.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) commented at the time on the fact: “Whenever I use that statistic, people seem completely surprised. They assume that, yeah, some people overstay — but 40 percent of the illegal population here?”

Which raises the question: Even if Obama were to issue work visas to this class of illegal immigrants, will they then suddenly find a willing employer sponsor?

Consider the example of persons currently working illegally off the books, who might already have a work visa if their employer had simply sponsored them to begin with.

If these off-the-books workers were suddenly given temporary work visas, will their employers suddenly have an incentive to sponsor them? No. Why bother? Both employers and employees currently save money on payroll taxes the way it is, and have been getting away with it for years.

At best, the work permit might help the illegal immigrant to find another job with a willing employer sponsor, but that is by no means a guarantee, particularly in the current weak labor market.

The U.S. economy is having a hard enough time creating jobs as is. Since October 2007, the economy has added a crappy 1.3 million jobs — or just 191,000 a year — a figure that takes into account the millions of jobs lost in the recession that have only just recently been recovered.

So, this class of illegal immigrants may remain unable to secure legal jobs mostly because there are not enough jobs in the first place, and not enough willing employer sponsors to have them working on the books. Therefore, the likelihood remains quite high they will end up overstaying whatever visas are given to them.

Then, what will have been accomplished?

Not much.

There is a little known fact of one of the greatest exoduses in human history came out of southern Italy in the early 1900s. A total of 9 million fled abject poverty with many heading to the U.S. and also Argentina, but most do not know that when they got here, many of the Italian immigrants couldn’t find jobs either.

According to a Library of Congress article, “the vast majority [of Italian immigrants] were farmers and laborers looking for a steady source of work — any work. There were a significant number of single men among these immigrants, and many came only to stay a short time. Within five years, between 30 and 50 percent of this generation of immigrants would return home to Italy, where they were known as ritornati.”

Consider that: 30 to 50 percent had to return home.

That was prior to the inception of the social safety net in the U.S. If you couldn’t find work, you went back home. How could it be any other way?

Immigration is not a human right. As always, it must be based on economics and surplus demand for labor. Yet, when the demand for labor is low, as it is now, simply issuing more temporary work visas will not solve the problem.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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