Immigration Fueling Poverty in the U.S.
Finds New Report by FAIR
(May 31, 2011 — Washington, D.C.) — Forty-five years after Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty,” the United States maintains a policy of mass immigration that perpetuates and increases poverty in the United States, finds a new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). According to Immigration, Poverty and Low-Wage Earners: The Harmful Effects of Unskilled Immigrants on American Workers, the United States is importing millions of poorly skilled immigrants who remain mired in poverty, while further eroding wages and economic opportunities for similarly skilled native workers.
Both legal immigration policies and the failure to enforce laws against illegal immigration contribute to the increase in poverty among immigrants and similarly skilled native workers. America’s immigration system is “not responsive to the socioeconomic conditions of the country,” notes the report. Family chain migration accounts for the vast majority of legal immigration. These new arrivals are admitted irrespective of education or job skills to join other recent immigrants, many of whom live in or near the poverty line. The situation is only exacerbated by a massive influx of illegal immigrants, most of whom are poorly skilled and work in the underground economy.
Among the key findings of Immigration, Poverty and Low-Wage Earners:
Fewer than 6 percent of legal immigrants to the United States in 2009 were admitted because they possessed skills deemed essential to the U.S. economy.
Nearly 31 percent of foreign-born adults lack a high school diploma. Among illegal aliens, 75 percent have a high school diploma or less.
The median annual income for all immigrant workers in the U.S. is just $30,000. For illegal aliens it is $22,500.
Low-skill immigrants are more likely to live in poverty, lack health insurance, and utilize welfare programs than their native-born counterparts. Immigrants and their children make-up 32 percent of those without health insurance in the United States.
Low-skill immigrant workers compete directly against similarly skilled native workers, undercutting their wages and employment opportunities.
“What we see is an immigration policy that is completely divorced from the economic realities of the United States in the 21st century,” stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Our immigration policies are driven entirely by the demands of the immigrants themselves and narrow business interests that profit from the presence of immigrant workers who must be heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. If union leaders truly cared about the plight of American workers, they would honor the long history of the labor movement in the U.S. and oppose immigration policies that undermine wages and conditions in the workplace and put Americans out of work.
“The United States maintains an immigration policy that admits millions of people who are unlikely to succeed in this country. At the same time, our immigration policy is having a devastating impact on job opportunities and wages of millions of low-skill native workers,” Stein continued. “We are deliberately inflicting grievous harm on our nation and many of our citizens through immigration policies while our leaders refuse to enact sensible reforms, or even enforce many existing laws.”
Click to view the full report Immigration, Poverty and Low-Wage Earners: The Harmful Effects of Unskilled Immigrants on American Workers.