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Our op-ed in USA Today -- Immigration enforcement is a big benefit to Hispanic American voters


(Editor's Note: USA Today's main editorial this morning castigates the Republican platform for its support for various immigration enforcement, saying it is anti-Hispanic and drives Hispanic voters away from Republican candidates.  See http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-08-27/GOP-Republican-immigration-platform/57357200/1)

(USA Today generously asked NumbersUSA President Roy Beck to write an op-ed giving a different point of view. It is running underneath the editorial today.  Readers can rate the competing opinions and leave comments about the debate at:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-08-27/Immigration-enforcement-Hispanic-workers/57356886/1)

USA Today

Opposing view: Enforcement aids Hispanic Americans

By Roy Beck

No American demographic group would benefit more than Hispanic voters by keeping illegal foreign workers from taking U.S. jobs. Only about 5% of illegal workers are in agriculture; most of the rest are competing for jobs in construction, service and manufacturing in the same locales where most unemployed Hispanic citizens are seeking work.

The government's broad measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers, for the second quarter of 2012 is 19% for all Latino citizens. That means almost one of five who wants a full-time job can't find one. It's even worse for those most likely to be in competition with illegal aliens: For Latino citizens under 30 with no more than a high school degree, the broad jobless rate is over 30%.

No wonder various polls find that the No. 1 issue in this election for Latinos — as with all voters — is the economy and jobs. And polling finds that a significant portion of Hispanic voters would look favorably on candidates of either party who can spell out the economic protection advantages of better immigration enforcement.

The main enforcement provisions in the proposed GOP platform — mandatory E-Verify and allowing states to help enforce federal immigration laws — are mainstream, even bipartisan, ideas. President Obama and Democratic leaders have often supported bills that would require electronic verification at the workplace to take away the jobs magnet for illegal immigration.

The most common state immigration law is one that requires the use of E-Verify. This is so mainstream that the Supreme Court gave a green light to states requiring every employer to use E-Verify. Not surprisingly, a Pulse Opinion Research poll this year found that Hispanic likely voters overwhelmingly support a mandatory electronic verification system.

Measures to reduce unfair job competition from all over the world are immensely pro-Hispanic American. However, those who would hope to thus gain politically must make the pro-jobs argument clearly and sincerely.

ROY BECK is President of NumbersUSA, a non-partisan, immigration-reduction organization

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