GOP Debate: Perry Fumbled CIS Refutation
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Mark Krikorian is justifiably proud that work from his CIS featured in last night’s GOP Presidential debate. Closely considered, the exchange supports the grim conclusions I have drawn about Rick Perry.

As exchange between Perry and Mitt Romney went:

"ROMNEY: With regards to the—to the record—to the record in Texas, you probably also ought to tell people that if you look over the last several years, 40 percent, almost half the jobs created in Texas were created for illegal aliens, illegal immigrants.

PERRY: That is an absolute falsehood on its face, Mitt…

ROMNEY: It's actually—it's actually...

PERRY: That is—that is absolutely incorrect, sir.

ROMNEY: Well, take a look at the study.

PERRY: There's a third—there's been a third party take a look at that study, and it is absolutely incorrect. The fact is, Texas has led the nation in job creation..." [Blah, blah.]


Romney is referring to the CIS study on Immigrants and Texan job growth, and Perry to an essay on it written by one-time California U.S. Senate candidate and Golden State refugee Chuck DeVore for the Texas Public Policy Foundation – which a more adroit speaker than Perry would have remembered to name.

Stripped of its swagger (do they issue it at the border?) the DeVore piece turns on a narrow semantic point: while the CIS study demonstrates that immigrant employment growth in Texas was 81% of the net employment growth, that may not mean that literally 81% of the total new jobs created in Texas went to immigrants (jobs come and go).

DeVore’s estimate?

“…immigrants accounted for 54 percent of the net increase in jobs vs. 46 percent for native-born Americans”

So immigrants only got just over half! Move, along, folks!

Perry’s “absolute falsehood...absolutely incorrect” allegation is simply wrong.

Steve Camarota, author of the CIS study, has published a detailed defense of which from a policy point of view the key point is

"…in Texas immigrants, not the native-born, have been the primary beneficiaries of job growth in the state…
Other researchers have done similar analysis. See for example here and here. As one author looking at the national figures has argued, “Employers have chosen to use new immigrants over native-born workers and have continued to displace large numbers of blue-collar workers and young adults…”"

Ed Rubenstein’s work of course also supports this view.

The bad news about Romney is that he dodged mentioning legal immigration, which of course does even more damage than illegal at present. But at least he seems not to be oblivious to the role of immigration – unlike Perry.

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