Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

Most new Texas jobs went to illegal immigrants

I thought that perhaps this article would wake a few people up here in the states. I have been saying for years now that you cannot go to any fast food joint and understand the employees that are taking your order. Go figure. Now it appears that there is data that backs up my assertion that immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans.

With both jobs and immigration likely topics of sharp debate at tonight’s Republican debate here in Florida, a new report suggests that newly-arrived immigrants have filled a majority of new jobs created in Texas, home to Republican frontrunner Gov. Rick Perry.

“Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal),” says the report from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates reduced levels of both legal and illegal immigration. The report estimates that about 40 percent of the new jobs were taken by illegal immigrants, while 40 percent were taken by legal immigrants. The vast majority of both groups, legal and illegal, were not American citizens.

Native-born Americans filled just 20 percent of the new jobs in Texas, the report says, even though “the native born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working-age population.” “Thus, even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants,” the report concludes.

The report is based on analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The study notes that 56 percent of newly-arrived immigrants in Texas since 2007 have had a high-school degree or less. But it also notes that “More than one out three…of newly arrived immigrants who took a job had at least some college.” It would be a mistake, the report concludes, “to assume that immigrants are only competing for jobs at the bottom end of the labor market.”

On the issue of immigration, Gov. Perry has been the target of criticism from some rivals because he opposes building a border fence and opposes E-Verify, while he supports in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as well as a guest-worker program. Rival Mitt Romney has made clear that he disagrees with Perry on each of those positions, and it’s likely that the issue will arise again in the Orlando debate.

In a press release accompanying the study, the Center for Immigration Studies makes a clear effort to cast doubt on Perry’s record. The relevant portion of that release:

As Republicans go through the process of selecting their party’s nominee, job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn has been the subject of much discussion. GOP frontrunner Perry has argued that he has a proven record of job creation in his state, even during the current economic downturn. It is true that Texas is one of the only states where the number of people working has increased during the recession. What has not been acknowledged is that immigrants have been the primary beneficiaries of this job growth, not native-born Americans. About 40 percent job growth went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and another 40 percent to new legal immigrants.

Some may argue that it was the arrival of immigrants in the state that stimulated what job growth there was for natives. But, if immigration stimulates job growth for natives, the numbers in Texas would look very different. The unemployment rate and the employment rate (share holding job) of natives in Texas show a dramatic deterioration during the recession that is similar to the rest of the country. Among the native-born, Texas ranks 22nd in terms of unemployment and 29th in terms of its employment rate. Outside of Texas many of the top immigrant-receiving states have the worst economies. Unemployment in the 10-top immigrant-receiving states in 2011 averaged 8.7 percent, compared to 7.2 percent on average in the 10 states where the fewest immigrants arrived since 2007. These figures do not settle the longstanding debate over the economics of immigration. What they do show is that high immigration is not necessarily associated with positive labor market outcomes for the! native-born.

Some may still feel that less-educated immigrants who work at the bottom of the labor market do not really compete with natives. It is true that 56.8 percent of newly arrived immigrants had no more than a high school education. However, there are more than 3 million native-born workers in Texas who have no more than a high school education. Between 2007 and 2011 the number of native-born Texans with a high school degree or less not working increased by 259,000 and their unemployment rates nearly doubled. It would be very difficult to find evidence that less-educated workers were in short supply in the state.

It must also be remembered that many immigrants are more educated. In fact, 43.2 percent (97,000) of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas had at least some college. Thus it would a mistake to assume that immigrants are only competing for jobs at the bottom end of the labor market.

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