U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, in a letter to President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus, warns that “(g)ranting work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants will devastate the black community, which is already struggling in the wake of the recession.” He also highlights the adverse effects an executive amnesty would have on U.S.-born high-skilled STEM workers.
The following are excerpts from Kirsanow’s letter:
“I write as one member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and not on behalf of the Commission as a whole. I write to express my concern regarding reports that you plan on issuing an executive order that purports to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants after the November elections. My concerns center around the effect such grant of legal status will have on two subsets of American workers: low-skilled workers, particularly low-skilled black workers, and high- skilled STEM workers.
“Such an increase in lawful workers would have a deleterious effect on low-skilled American workers, particularly black workers. In 2008, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing regarding the impact of illegal immigration on the wages and employment opportunities of African-Americans. The testimony at the briefing indicated that illegal immigration disproportionately impacts the wages and employment opportunities of African-American men.
“The proposed executive order will also have a negative effect on young African- Americans at the outset of their working lives. Young, low-skilled workers are facing enormous difficulties in this economy. A recent study from the Brookings Institution found, “Only about half of high school graduates not enrolled in post-secondary education and less than 30 percent of high school dropouts worked in a given month in 2011.” Black teens had the highest labor underutilization rate…of any ethnic group – 60 percent.
“Granting work authorization to millions of illegal immigrants will devastate the black community, which is already struggling in the wake of the recession that began in 2007 and the subsequent years of malaise. Americans of all racial groups have seen their incomes stagnate since the recession. African-Americans have been particularly hard-hit, however.
“Finally, I would like to say a few words about the supposed need for an increased number of high-tech visas. There is little evidence, other than the protestations of tech titans and politicians, that there is a shortage of STEM workers in the United States. Statistics suggest otherwise...Furthermore, if there is a shortage of IT workers, why aren’t wages increasing?...The problem is not that there are insufficient STEM graduates; the problem is that tech companies do not want to pay the wages American workers would demand absent a continual influx of high-tech visa holders.
“I urge you to forego any such executive action.”
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