Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on Making Immigration Work for American Minorities

Statement

By:  Elton Gallegly
Date: March 1, 2011
Location: Unknown

Good morning.

When employers hire foreign workers who will work for less than American workers, Americans lose jobs. So importing millions of poorly educated foreign workers won't help our country, but instead will only hinder its growth.

This morning's hearing is the third in a series in which this Subcommittee will be examining the connection between immigration and jobs. Today we are exploring perhaps one of the most important aspects of that connection -- the effects that low-skilled immigrants have on the employment of American minorities.

This topic is often ignored by amnesty supporters. But Republicans held a 2007 forum on the issue and we invited a witness to discuss it at a 2010 hearing.

So I am pleased that the Immigration Subcommittee is taking a formal look at it today.

The 13.9 million unemployed Americans deserve every chance possible to find a job. And our focus should be on ensuring that every U.S. citizen who is willing to work has a job, instead of giving jobs to foreign laborers.

Many of those most impacted by the current job crisis are minorities. The unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics are 15.7% and 11.9%, respectively. They often compete for jobs with low-skilled immigrant workers.

In 2006 Harvard professor George Borjas researched the effects of immigration on the wages and employment rates of the African-American population. He concluded that "a 10 percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 3.6 percent." And he found that the same increase in labor supply "lowered the employment rate of black men by 2.4 percentage points."

Using census data from 1960-2000, Borjas determined that as "immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group" there was a reduction in "the wage of black workers in that group, a reduction in the employment rate, and a corresponding increase in the incarceration rate."

And young people have been hit especially hard by the recession. In fact, of young U.S-born blacks (ages 18-29), 55% have no education higher than a high school diploma. And of young U.S.-born Hispanics, 54% have no education higher than a high school diploma.

These low-skilled legal workers are the ones who have to compete for jobs with the three-fourths of illegal immigrants who have no education beyond high school. They are the real victims of America's failed immigration policy. Recent research confirms that assertion.

An August 2010 report by the Center for Immigration Studies noted that according to U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2007 to 2010, "Younger and less-educated workers are the most likely to be in competition with immigrants -- legal and illegal."

And a July 2010 a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University noted that, "immigrants, especially less educated, undocumented immigrants" provide "fierce competition for jobs" for black male teens.

Several of our witnesses today have seen first-hand the impact that mass low-skilled immigration has had on minority communities. I look forward to hearing their testimony.