The following opinion editorial is written by analyst Joe Guzzardi and published by “Progressives For Immigration Reform.” Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. The following is republished in its entirety, with permission:
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has, in what it claims is in the best interest of Texas’ economic growth, sided with cheap-labor-addicted employers, and against American workers. A preliminary draft of an article that the Dallas Fed wrote for the “International Migration Review” concluded that a strictly enforced national mandate that employers use E-Verify would be incompatible with the economy’s current reliance on a large illegally present workforce. E-Verify confirms whether employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S.
The report’s authors also determined that employers who enroll in E-Verify would find that the program would “prove costly” to them in terms of compliance and hiring adequate staff. To avoid those negative consequences, the Dallas Fed wrote that it would be necessary to either legalize existing workers, an amnesty, or bow to craven employers’ interests and admit more guest workers to the millions already present.
The Dallas Fed apparently has a new role – that of an immigration expansion advocate. One of the goals of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, is to, according to its own definition, pursue policies that result in full employment. But Texas’ unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, near its historic low. Despite weakness in the energy sector, job growth in the Lone Star State is strong. The Texas Workforce Commission reported that last year the state’s economy added 343,000 jobs, about a 3 percent growth rate. Using its own success barometer, the Dallas Fed has done a fantastic job.
Surely the Dallas Fed’s board of directors, comprised mostly of bankers and business executives, knows that expanding the labor pool, especially with workers willing to do existing jobs at lower wages, hurts Americans. Oddly, three years ago the Dallas Fed understood with crystal clarity how E-Verify benefits U.S. workers, especially those with less than a college education who must compete head-to-head with illegal immigrant labor. In its 2017 E-Verify analysis, the Dallas Fed wrote that “E-Verify has proved effective at keeping immigrants who are in the country illegally from taking American jobs. In Arizona, which pioneered the mandatory checks in 2008, the number of unauthorized workers dropped 33 percent below what was projected without the requirement.”
Then, the pro-immigration Washington Post in its follow-up story on the Dallas Fed’s research listed more reasons why E-Verify is important for U.S. workers. The Post wrote that existing E-Verify mandates in states that require the program resulted in increased wages for U.S.-born or naturalized low-skilled workers: “In the states that have mandated near-universal E-Verify, the average hourly wages of unauthorized Mexican men fell nearly 8 percent after the requirement went into effect, while wages for U.S. born and naturalized Hispanic men rose between 7 and 9 percent.”
The Post story had a telling headline: “Trump isn’t pushing hard for this one popular way to curb illegal immigration,” a reference to E-Verify, and the age-old canard that the nation suffers from a labor shortage. In earlier reporting in the Post, and according a survey it conducted jointly with ABC, it found that 80 percent of those surveyed support the requirement that employers confirm that their new hires are legally authorized to work in the U.S.
E-Verify would be more effective than a Southwest border wall.
Despite the E-Verify program’s popularity, President Trump has all but forgotten about his 2016 Phoenix speech when, as a candidate, he pledged that it would be used to “the fullest extent possible….”
As for the alleged labor shortage, which President Trump has frequently referred to, the historic, tried-and-true solution to attracting more employees is to offer higher wages, not import overseas workers. Employers’ labor shortage definition doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of available workers, but that they prefer to hire cheaper foreign nationals who are readily accessible.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January jobs report, 4.9 million Americans wanted a job, a slight increase from December 2019. President Trump’s first obligation is to unemployed or underemployed U.S. citizens, not to insatiable big business and its bottom-line focus. The easiest way to keep alive what President Trump called “a blue-collar boom” in his State of the Union address is to urge Congress to enact mandatory E-Verify legislation.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]