Translate blog

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Illegal immigrants’ amnesty could backfire for Obama

President Obama has just opened a floodgate of opportunity for young illegal immigrants in the United States, but could it squeeze the aspirations of legal Americans in the process?

Across the nation Friday, immigrant advocates and Hispanic youth groups hailed Obama’s decision to offer legal status to some undocumented immigrants under 30 as a watershed in U.S. immigration history and a long-sought victory for ambitious youths denied a chance to realize the American dream.

But opponents of illegal immigration warned that the policy could create significant new competition for jobs and university slots at a time of nationwide recession and numerous states’ efforts to curb public spending.

“I see a tidal wave coming,” said Brad Botwin, president of Help Save Maryland, a group that opposes legalization for undocumented immigrants. “Half of our college graduates today can’t find jobs, and the unemployment rate for high-school-aged Americans is extremely high. This is unfair to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are out there struggling to get ahead.”

The new policy could entail additional costs for administration and enforcement, however, and put pressure on state systems of higher education to meet growing demand for slots.

Effect on low-wage jobs?
But Steven Camarota, a researcher with the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, said that the Obama administration was not taking into account the new measure’s probable impact on competition for jobs at the low end of the economic scale, where chronic unemployment is highest. Among Americans with less than a high school education, he said, the jobless rate is 13 percent.

“It doesn’t seem the administration is considering the cascading consequences,” Camarota said.

“What does this mean for unemployed Americans who will be competing for jobs with a million-plus people who can now apply for work authorization? Is this really a good idea?”

No comments: