President Obama still plans an amnesty in the near, though unspecific, future, according to threats continuing to burble out of the White House.
That's despite record unemployment and widespread misery throughout the land.
We have become so desensitized to Washington's daily cruelty to average Americans that the systematic displacement of citizens in the workplace is accepted as the norm. Plus, not only is the White House guaranteeing to reward millions of aliens for violating U.S. sovereignty, but legal immigration on auto-pilot continues to dump 125,000 new workers per month into America's already flooded labor market.
In boom times, captains of industry demanded additional foreign workers and got them. But now, when 15 million Americans are jobless, there is no corresponding reduction.
But there is no such legislation in Congress.
Interestingly, President Obama understands something of the principle of supply and demand regarding employment—as he demonstrated in his CNN interview broadcast September 20:
"I think we'll be adding jobs, but you need 150,000 additional jobs each month just to keep pace with a growing population," the president said. "So if we're only adding 50,000 jobs, that's a great reversal from losing 700,000 jobs [a month] early this year—but, you know, it means that we've still got a ways to go." [Obama: Economy probably won't produce enough jobs until 2010]
Among Americans, the economy is the top concern. An August Gallup poll found that 31 percent of workers personally feared losing their job, a new high and double the rate of a year ago. A Harris Poll taken in early September noted that 60 percent of Americans polled gave the President a negative rating on handling the economy.
Yet Washington and the elite media are stuck on healthcare. It's certainly important and needs fixing. But unemployment is worsening (now at 9.7 percent nationally), and badly so in many regions and job sectors.
In August, 42 states lost jobs (an increase of 29 states from July) with a nationwide total of 216,000 persons laid off.
The average time which people remain unemployed has lengthened to 25 weeks, the longest since the end of WWII, and 5 million Americans have been jobless for more than six months.
The numbers are worse for black Americans, where 15.1 percent of those over 16 are jobless.
An article last spring examined A Job Crisis for Young Black Men:
"The relative size of this loss in employment among black men was the highest in any of the 11 post-World War II recessions in the United States. It is ironic that at the same time that the nation was electing its first African-American president, it was displacing record numbers of black men from the ranks of the employed.
Similar to the case for male workers generally, the employment declines among black men have been concentrated among the youngest workers (ages 16-24), among those with limited formal schooling, and among blue-collar workers. The lack of adequate employment opportunities among these young black men contributes to a lack of hope and an increase in despair, which often leads to rising delinquency, crime, and incarceration. In recent months, only one in six black teen males has worked, and only 52 percent of 20- to 24-year-old black men held any type of job. Another new record employment low is being established for these young men. "
(by Ron Marlow and Andrew Sum, Boston Globe, April 22, 2009).
"Last year, only 32.7 percent of U.S. teens ages 16 through 19 held summer jobs, the lowest level since the government started tracking the data in 1948, said Andrew Sum, the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
"With jobs still scarce, the teen employment rate probably will hit a new low of about 30 percent this summer, Sum said."
"That figure doesn't include some 400,000 to 500,000 low-income teens who are expected to get summer jobs thanks to $1.2 billion in stimulus funds for youth job programs.
"However, Sum said that these jobs—some of which will go to adults ages 20 to 24—will boost teen summer-employment rates only by another 1 to 1.5 percent, which, if accurate, would still be a 61-year low."
Another group that has been smacked down is the recent college grad cohort. During the first four months of 2009, less than half of the country's 4 million college graduates age 25 and under were working in jobs that required a college degree.
That career obstruction is a bitter disappointment for young people who would like to get going on their adult lives—and is extra bad news for those with large college loans to pay off.
In immigration-crippled California, the jobless rate reached 12.2 percent in August, and nearly 2.25 million state residents searched unsuccessfully for work. In August 2008, the state's jobless rate was 7.7 percent.
The Central Valley has been particularly hard hit. (See the Sacramento Bee's helpful interactive map of unemployment by county and by month since January 2008.)
The Bakersfield Homeless Center reported a 34 percent increase in homeless families since last year. Director Louis Gill remarked, "They're like folks you know and that you've worked with... We're seeing individuals come in that have never had to access the safety net before." [More Families Are Becoming Homeless, By Alexi Mostrous, Washington Post, July 12, 2009].
Behind these numbers are Americans who have used up their savings, lost their homes, moved in with relatives, needed food banks and become traumatized and depressed by long-term joblessness. Many millions are working part-time, meaning they are scraping by but don't make enough money to fulfill their dreams of a good college education for the kids and a comfortable retirement.
One of the President's campaign promises, made often in the Midwestern Rustbelt, was to renegotiate NAFTA. It was a popular policy among hard-hit workers who understand how globalized trade has directly harmed them, since NAFTA sent thousands of jobs to Mexico and turned a moderate trade surplus into a loss. Senator Sherrod Brown estimated that NAFTA caused the loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs in Ohio alone.
"'Obama not only verbally promised voters there a NAFTA re-do, he did it in writing. 'Bad Trade Deals Hit Ohio Harder Than Most States and Only Barack Obama Consistently Opposed NAFTA,' declared an Obama campaign leaflet picturing a shuttered factory.
"'He made those statements in the Youngstown area,' [Rep. Marcy] Kaptur recalled. 'And when these words are heard, they mean something. Now people are waiting for the results of that. '" [Obama backs away from reforming free trade deal, Washington Examiner, By Susan Ferrechio, May 18, 2009]
The President has been oddly uninterested in the employment crisis. He promised that the stimulus would save and create jobs. But when it didn't work, he became passive, remarking in his weekend CNN interview: "I want to be clear, that probably the jobs picture is not going to improve considerably—and it could even get a little bit worse—over the next couple of months."
Meanwhile Obama has been focused like a laser beam on healthcare—a policy revolution that would take years to implement, even if he can ram through a bill. But the worst job loss in generations has become a snoozer at the White House.
Obama's apparent indifference may stem from the fact that the easy, obvious solutions are politically distasteful. His kowtowing to Hispanics shows he regards them as a vital part of his coalition. He may not be prepared to miff Mexicans to help Americans. There's no question that many Democrat honchos believe a massive amnesty for nanny-state-friendly immigrants will produce a permanent Democrat majority for decades, if not forever.
There are two common-sense solutions involving immigration, both legal and illegal.
As mentioned earlier, an immigration moratorium for the duration of the jobs recession would be entirely reasonable. Simply stop the annual inflow of 1.5 million legal immigrants until the national unemployment rate gets back down to a normal level.
Such a policy would be kind to citizen workers and would take the edge off the left's self-serving belief that immigration to America is a universal human right.
Wasn't immigration supposed to be a benefit for the country and its citizens? That idea has gone down the memory hole, along with the notion that the purpose of the American government is to protect the freedoms of the American people, not provide a planetary social services and wealth redistribution center.
The other solution is to make the SAVE Act the law of the land. SAVE stands for Secure America through Verification and Enforcement and has a strong section on workplace enforcement.
"Second, the SAVE Act expands and mandates use of the E-verify program—a free and effective program that allows employers to verify the individuals they hire are legally allowed to work in the U.S. The program will phase-in over four years, beginning with the federal government, federal contractors, and employers with over 250 employees. Smaller businesses would begin using the system in a graduated manner. The Obama Administration recently announced that all federal contractors and subcontractors must use the E-verify program starting September 8, 2009. "
The Pew Hispanic Center estimated last spring that 8.3 million illegal workers were occupying American jobs as of March 2008. Even allowing for a little shrinkage because of the recession, removing those unlawful workers would free up positions for nearly half of the 15 million American jobless.
Many of those liberated jobs would be low-skilled, but so are many unemployed Americans. In earlier times of economic difficulty, people of various talents could easily pick up a part-time or service industry gig. It wasn't great, but a survival job (as they are now called) kept food on the table and the wolf from the door.
Recent workplace raids which have removed illegal workers have been followed by Americans lining up for employment, thereby disproving the Open-Borders lobby's much-used lie, that spoiled, lazy citizens won't do "those" jobs.
Americans did those jobs 30 years ago—before business became addicted to cheap and exploitable illegal workers.
The question for President Obama and Congress is this: "In this time of great misery, will you open up 8 million jobs for unemployed Americans and stop the flow of unnecessary foreign workers who compete against citizens?"
And why isn't that question being asked by sovereignty enthusiasts—and the conservative media?
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She reflects often on the idea that 600,000 Americans were killed in the War Over Free Labor (aka the Civil War), and business will not easily abandon illegal alien workers who essentially insert their own hands into chains.