SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC90126 PDF
PROSPECTS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS: IMMIGRATION'S IMPACT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION,
BORDER SECURITY, AND CLAIMS
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 30, 2003
Serial No. 60
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
JOHN R. CARTER, Texas
TOM FEENEY, Florida
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana, Chairman
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
STEVE KING, Iowa
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
ZOE LOFGREN, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
GEORGE FISHMAN, Chief Counsel
ART ARTHUR, Full Committee Counsel
LUKE BELLOCCHI, Counsel
CINDY BLACKSTON, Professional Staff
NOLAN RAPPAPORT, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
OCTOBER 30, 2003
The Honorable John N. Hostettler, a Representative in Congress From the State of Indiana, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress From the State of Texas, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress From the State of Michigan, and Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
Dr. Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
Mr. Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., Professor, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
Mr. Terry Anderson, The Terry Anderson Show, KRLA
Mr. Daniel T. Griswold, Cato Institute
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAPPENDIX
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress From the State of Texas, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Prepared Statement by the Honorable Linda T. Sánchez, a Representative in Congress From the State of California
''Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalizations on Wages,'' submitted by the Honorable John Conyers for the Record
''A Profile of the Low-Wage Immigrant Workforce,'' submitted by the Honorable John Conyers for the Record
The Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper, ''Immigration and Poverty,'' submitted by the Honorable John Conyers for the Record
The Economic Policy Institute Briefing Paper, ''How Unions Help All Workers,'' submitted by the Honorable John Conyers for the Record
AFL-CIO, Executive Council Actions, submitted by the Honorable John Conyers
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Report Submitted by the Honorable Shelia Jackson Lee, ''Mexico Immigrant Workers and The U.S. Economy: An Increasingly Vital Role''by American Immigration Law Foundation
PROSPECTS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS: IMMIGRATION'S IMPACT
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2003
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Immigration,
Border Security, and Claims,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:15 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John N. Hostettler (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Good morning. It is a tribute to the characteristics of the American economy that we have handled so well the historic number of immigrants that have arrived in America since implementation of the Immigration Act of 1965 and since the unraveling of the Southern border. The number of immigrants in America has increased from less than ten million and less than 5 percent of the population in 1970 to more than 33 million and more than 11 percent of the population today.
But have we absorbed this great influx without a cost? Is the average blue collar American worker better off than he or she would have been had we chosen another immigration policy three-and-a-half decades ago? And will such a worker be better off in the future?
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
These are the questions that we will ask at today's hearing and they are important questions, because as Americans, we can and do choose our immigration policy. We can choose to admit more or fewer legal immigrants. We can favor one category of immigrant over another. And we can choose whether or not to seriously enforce our immigration laws as they are today.
Under our existing and freely chosen immigration policy, newly arrived immigrant workers are more than four times as likely as native workers to lack a high school education. Economic theory predicts that this will have a deleterious effect on low-skilled American workers. It will lower their wages and increase overall economic inequality in America.
I think it is indisputable that the economic history of the past three decades has been disconcerting. Wages for low-skilled Americans have stagnated, if not actually decreased, and the wage differential between low-skilled and high-skilled workers has doubled. But can the blame be laid on immigration policy?
For many years, economic studiesexcuse meeconomic studies that compared the wages of American workers living in high immigration areas with those living in areas with few immigrants could not find substantial differences. Thus, it was assumed immigration must have no effect on the standard of living of American workers.
But then an economist said, wait a minute. If high numbers of immigrants in a community had a substantial negative effect on the wages of Americans living nearby, those Americans might vote with their feet and move to other communities where their prospects were better. By doing so, they would spread the adverse economic impact of immigration throughout the country in a way you couldn't tell by comparing American workers living in different communities.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Relying on this insight, economists have come up with alternate methods of measuring the negative impact of current immigration policy on American workers. George Borjas has estimated that 44 percent of the widening wage gap between high school dropouts and high school graduates since 1979 can be attributed to immigration levels. He also estimates that the immigrant influx since 1980 has decreased the wages of the average native worker by 3.2 percent, and the average native worker without a high school degree by 8.9 percent.
Steve Camarota, who will testify today, estimates that the current immigration policy has resulted in the reduction of the average wage of a native worker in a low-skilled occupation by 12 percent, or by over $1,916 a year.
Case studies are also telling. A few decades ago, meat packing jobs were some of the highest paying blue collar jobs around. I think we can all remember Sylvester Stallone working in a Philadelphia meat packing plant as he trained to take on Apollo Creed. But today, meat packing jobs are not only low paying, but according to testimony before this Subcommittee in the 106th Congress, they are also some of the most dangerous jobs in America. Not coincidentally, this has been accompanied by a large inflow of immigrant workers. Another example is the disappearance over the last few decades of high-paying union janitorial jobs in big cities.
As the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by the late Barbara Jordan, found, quote, ''Immigration of unskilled immigrants comes at a cost to unskilled U.S. workers.'' End quote.
As the Hudson Institute has concluded, quote, ''U.S. immigration policy serves primarily to increase the number of U.S. residents who lack even a high school degree. America must stop recruiting workers for jobs that do not exist or exist only at the lowest wages.'' End quote.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If we want to improve the lot of blue collar workers and their families, immigration policy seems one place to start.
At this time, the chair recognizes any other Members of the Committee that may have an opening statement.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. If not, we have a panel of witnesses before us that the Subcommittee welcomes. At this time, I would like to introduce the members of the panel.
Dr. Steven Camarota is Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in public policy analysis and a master's degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Camarota has testified before Congress and published widely on the effects of immigration on the United States. His articles have appeared in both academic journals and the popular press, including Social Science Quarterly, the Public Interest, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and National Review. His most recent work, published by the Center for Immigration Studies, is The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered and Remained in the United States from 1993 to 2001.
Other recent publications include The New Ellis Island: Examining Non-Traditional Areas of Immigrant Settlement it the 1990's; Immigration from Mexico: Assessing the Impact on the United States; The Slowing Progress of Immigrants: An Examination of Income, Home Ownership, and Citizenship from 1970 to 2000; Without Coverage: Immigration's Impact on the Size and Growth of the Population Lacking Health Insurance; and Reconsidering Immigrant Entrepreneurship: An Examination of Self-Employment Among Natives and the Foreign Born.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Vernon Briggs, Jr., is professor of labor economics at the New York State School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Cornell University. He received his B.S. degree in economics from the University of Maryland and his master's and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Michigan State University. Before coming to Cornell in 1978, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin for 14 years.
Professor Briggs specializes in the area of human resource economics and public policy. The subject of immigration policy and its effects on American workers has been a frequent subject of his research. In addition to numerous articles on the topic, he has authored books, including: Chicanos and Rural Poverty; The Chicano Worker; Immigration Policy and the American Labor Force; The Internationalization of the U.S. Economy: Its Labor Market Implications; The Population and Labor Force of New York from 1990 to 2050; Labor Economics: Theory, Institutions, and Public Policy; Mass Immigration and the National Interest; Immigration and the U.S. Labor Market; Public Policy Gone Awry in Immigration and American Unionism.
Professor Briggs has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Human Resources, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the Texas Business Review, the Journal of Economic Issues, and People and Place.
Terry Anderson has lived in the same neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles for 50 years. He has run a business in Los Angeles since 1970. Mr. Anderson has been an immigration reform activist since 1993 and testified before this Subcommittee in 1999.
For the past 3 years, he has hosted ''The Terry Anderson Show,'' the only radio show in the country devoted to immigration reform. The show is the top-rated show on KRLA in Los Angeles on weekends and the number one show for its time slot. The show is now broadcast in eight cities, with stations being added monthly, and he says, ''Our call-in lines are full from the show's start to its finish.''
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Daniel Griswold is Associate Director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies. Mr. Griswold specializes in international trade and immigration, and his areas of research include the trade deficit, imports, and manufacturing, the World Trade Organization, Congressional voting on trade, and Mexican immigration.
Mr. Griswold is the author of Willing Workers: Fixing the Problem of Illegal Mexican Migration to the United States. He has written articles for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and other major publications. He has testified before Senate and House Committees and Federal commissions.
Before joining the Cato Institute, Mr. Griswold served as press secretary to former U.S. Representative Vin Weber and as a daily newspaper editorial page director. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a diploma in economics and a master's degree in the politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics.
Gentlemen, thank you for your presence here. At this time, I would like to turn to the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Ms. Jackson Lee, for an opening statement that she might make.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would ask unanimous consent to submit my entire statement for the record.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And let me welcome the witnesses. This is a very important hearing because it juxtaposes two crises that we're facing, and that is the job loss in the United States, the mounting unemployment, the loss of manufacturing jobs, against rational immigration policy that does not admit to practicality.
I've said in hearings dealing with the question of terrorism that immigration does not equate to terrorism. So I say this morning that immigration does not equate to the failed economic policies of this country and of the present Administration.
This nation was founded by immigrants seeking freedom and opportunity. Immigrants typically have been good for the American economy. They create new jobs by establishing new businesses, spending their incomes on American goods and services, paying taxes, and raising the productivity of the United States businesses.
The American economy does not have a fixed number of jobs. Economists describe the notion that the number of jobs is fixed as a labor fallacy. In reality, job opportunities expand with the rising population. Since immigrants are both workers and consumers, their spending on food, clothing, housing, other items creates new job opportunities.
What we really need to spend our time on, and I hope that the witnesses will give us instruction, because that is what we are concerned about, we would like to be problem solvers, and as we do so, we would like to do it in a balanced manner, one, recognizing the historical role that immigrants have played in this nation, each wave coming in and integrating into the society, retaining the values of their culture, but then holding themselves out as patriotic Americans.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Let me remind my friends that even as we fight the continuing war in Iraq, we have seen many of our non-citizens go into battle and lose their lives. They are willing to sacrifice for the values of this country.
In reality, as I said, we know that they create job opportunities. We know that they spend and churn the economy. Immigrants tend to fill jobs that Americans cannot or will not take in sufficient numbers to meet demand, mostly at the high and low ends of the skill spectrum. For those of us who come from ranching or farming states, we know that immigrants play a very large role in the production of food in the United States.
According to the Department of Labor, occupations with the largest growth in absolute numbers will be in the categories that only require short-term on-the-job training of a month or less. This includes such occupations as waiters and waitresses, retail salespersons, cashiers, nursing aides, orderlies, attendants, janitors, home health aids, manual laborers, landscaping workers, and manual packers.
The Labor Department estimates that the total number of jobs requiring only short-term training will increase from 53.2 million in 2000 to 60.9 million by 2010, a net increase of 7.7 million jobs. But we also know that in this last 2 years, we have lost three million jobs and we have certainly been at the high level of losing manufacturing jobs. The supply of American workers suitable for such work is falling on account of an aging workforce and rising education levels. The median age of American workers continues to increase as the baby boomers near retirement age, and notwithstanding this need, our immigration laws have failed to provide adequate opportunities for low-skilled farm workers to immigrate into the United States.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I hope, Mr. Chairman, as we hear these witnesses who will express their very legitimate concernsand I welcome themwe keep a two-prong approach in mind. One, we are the Judiciary Committee, but I believe we are Members of Congress. Let us work collaboratively with our Committee that deals and addresses, the Labor Workforce Committee, the questions of training and reinvestment into the American worker.
Let us find, if H1B is reauthorized, that we take a sizeable portion of those fees and use them for the retraining of our American workers. I believe the H1B authorization that Mr. Lamar Smith and myself worked on about two sessions ago was an excellent approach. Unfortunately, it was co-opted by the Republican leadership and not allowed to proceed through the House, where we had a sizeable proportion of dollars attributable to training American workers and retraining them for high-tech jobs and other jobs that were skilled. We still can do that and we should.
The other aspect that we should look at is true immigration reform. Wouldn't it be more worthwhile and sensible to ensure that those who are now undocumented who are working in this country have the ability to access legalization, invest in this country by Social Security taxes, purchases of homes, and help to churn the economy. Who can tell me amongst us that are here today how you can bus out or deport over eight million individuals that are in this country?
So, Mr. Chairman, this is an important hearing, and out of it, I hope that we can collaborate on solutions and begin to find our way to answer the concerns of American workers without a foolish response to ignore the vital role that immigrants play in the United States and have played over the years. I look forward to the testimony, and as I've indicated, in conclusion, I look forward to serious solutionsserious solutionsfor a very crucial concern that impacts all of us.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your kindness in yielding this time. I yield back the balance of my time.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows in the Appendix]
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman? Would it be permissible for me to make a few comments before we begin?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair recognizes the Ranking Member of the full Committee, Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Chairman Hostettler and Ranking Member Jackson Lee. This is a very important hearing to me because I come from Detroit, Michigan, where many of the industrial loss of jobs that have occurred, some 2.7 million jobs lost since the Bush administration, is a continuing concern.
I come fromI represent the City of Dearborn in which a Russian business conglomerate just purchased the Dearborn Food steel plant at River Rouge, which caught a lot of my constituents by surprise and some shock. I also represent the city suburban to Detroit in which the steel plant closed, went into bankruptcy, was repurchased by an American steel company, and it was under the condition that they drop the pension and health care plans, which again riveted attention.
Now, the questionthose are all interesting economic and industrial questions. What does it have to do with workers? As one paper here written says, what is the impact of immigration on American workers?
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
With all due respect, I am not sure how this can be determined without us at least having one witness before this panel that comes from the labor community, from the collective bargaining community where there are dozens of millions of working people and where this problem is being studied. So I just want you to know that this is critical.
To me, there are a couple of schools of thought here. There is one group of people in America that want to keep out as many immigrants as possible, even though their forbearers were immigrants themselves. There is another school of thought that thinks we should let in as many as want to come in, or as many as possible.
And what I like to temper those two schools of thought with is the fact that our immigration policy itself needs a very good oversight and scrutiny by this Committee, the Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee in both Houses. Our immigration system, I think the policies have failed, and they have failed the estimated ten millions of undocumented people that live and work in the United States. Thousands more are caught up in backlogs, wishing to immigrate legally to the United States. And then, of course, we have the American workforce itself that I think has been harmed by the failure of our immigration policy. So we have got to include both the immigrants wishing to make a better life in the country and those who are here already struggling to maintain a better quality of life.
It is undeniable that immigration impacts American workers, and not always in a positive way. Employersthis is not newstake advantage of the plight of undocumented workers by lowering the wages and employee protections, and historically, guest worker programs have resulted in exploitation of foreign workers, denial of opportunities, and wage depression for domestic workers. I mean, we all get caught in this spiral.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I am hoping that we will examine these issues very carefully and I thank the Chairman for allowing me to make these introductory remarks.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair recognizes anyone else that may have an opening statement.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. If not, we will turn to the witnesses now. Dr. Camarota, you have 5 minutes. Without objection, your full testimony will be included in the record and you are welcome to testify.
STATEMENT OF STEVEN A. CAMAROTA, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES
Mr. CAMAROTA. I would like to thank the Subcommittee for inviting me. My name is Steven Camarota and I am Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies here in Washington.
There are few Government policies that can have so profound an impact on the nation as immigration. One of the most important effects of immigration is its impact on the U.S. workforce, or more specifically, American workers. Now, the main reason immigration has a significant impact on American workers is that it increases the supply of workers. That is, it increases the supply of labor.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In particular, there has been concern that those employed at the bottom end of the labor market would be most harmed by immigration because that is where immigrants are most heavily concentrated, in less-skilled, low-paying jobs. While those at the bottom end of the labor market did make some small gains at the end of the 1990's in wages, that was just a blip and those gains have, of course, disappeared now.
Overall, there are about 19 million adult immigrants in the U.S. workforce, but they are heavily concentrated at the bottom. Census data shows that about 35 percent of new immigrants who have arrived in the last 5 years, whether legally or illegally, lack a high school education. Immigrants now comprise more than one-third of all the high school dropouts in the workforce, while they account for 11 percent of all other workers.
Looking at occupations, we see that they make up only one-tenth of those in managerial and professional jobs, but a fourth of those in service jobs such as janitor, security guard, and child care worker.
Now, the National Academy of Sciences has estimated in 1997 that immigration reduced the wages of dropouts by about $13 billion, which is not a small effect. We must remember that dropouts make up about one-third of all those in the workforce who are in poverty. My own research suggests that the Academy's estimates may be even low. In an article published in Social Science Quarterly, I compared occupations and found that the negative effect was about 10 percent for those workers employed in the bottom 20 percent of the labor force.
And in an important brand new study published just this month in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Harvard Professor George Borjas found that about each 10 percent increase in the supply of labor caused by immigration reduces wages for natives by about three to 4 percent. While most of those adversely affected are less educated, his results actually show that the result is pretty constant throughout the workforce. In other words, if you are in a more educated occupation and you have more skills, the effect seems to be constant of immigration.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The results for those skilled workers are particularly important because few of the immigrants in that sector of the economy are illegal aliens, yet the effect is the same, lower wages for natives. This shows that the primary reason immigration lowers wages is not that immigrants are willing to work for less, rather, lower wages are simply the result of immigration increasing the supply of labor.
Now, if we reduce legal immigration in the future and also begin to actually enforce our laws, some may be concerned that what would we do for unskilled labor, but we really should have no such fear of this. There are currently 1.3 million unemployed native-born dropouts and another seven million who have withdrawn from the workforce. In addition, there are three million unemployed natives who have only a high school education and there are also 11 million in that same category who have actually withdrawn from the workforce, as well. There are also about two million legal immigrants already here who are unemployed or not in the workforce who lack a high school education, as well.
In sum, our potential unskilled workforce is roughly 25 million, of people unemployed or not in the workforce. Thus, there is ample supply of labor.
Now, of course, it's important to realize that wageswage losses suffered by Americans who are less educated do not vanish into thin air. The National Research Council estimated that the gain from driving down the wages of the working poor is equal to about one- or two-tenths of 1 percent of our national economy, a very small effect relative to the size of the economy. And the net gain is so small because these workers are so poor to begin with that even if you drive down their wages a lot through increasing the supply of labor with immigration, you can't create large benefits.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
A more recent paper suggests that even that very small benefit may not even exist. A paper published last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that by not letting wages rise and also productivity rise in response and instead continually adding immigrant labor, we are making our economy less productive. The resulting net economic loss is estimated to be over $70 billion a year. It is a very important finding that shows that we are actually using labor instead of relying on new technology and capital and becoming productive.
In conclusion, those who support the current high level of unskilled immigration should at least do so with an understanding that those Americans harmed by the policy that they favor are already the poorest and most vulnerable and that must be considered. Thank you.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Dr. Camarota.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Camarota follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEVEN A. CAMAROTA
Few government policies can have so profound an effect on a nation as immigration. Large numbers of immigrants and their descendants cannot help but have a significant impact on the cultural, political, and economic situation in their new country. Over the three decades socio-economic conditions, especially in the developing world, in conjunction with U.S. immigration policy have caused 23 million people to leave their homelands and emigrate legally to the United States. Additionally, the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates that 420,000 new illegals settle permanently in the country each year. The current influx has caused an enormous growth in the immigrant population, from 9.6 million in 1970 (4.8% of the population) to 34 million (12% of the population) today.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As in the past, immigration has sparked an intense debate over the cost and benefits of allowing in such a large number of people. One of the central aspects of the immigration debate is its impact on American workers, especially those employed at the bottom of the labor market. These workers are thought to be especially vulnerable to immigrant competition because demand for this kind of labor is generally weak and immigrants are heavily concentrated in less-skilled and lower-paying jobs. While these workers have made some gains at the end of the 1990s, most of these gains have disappeared in the current recession and real wages of workers at the bottom of the labor market remain l below what they were in the 1970s.
Four Reasons Immigration Can Impact Wages
First, because they often come from countries where wages are much lower, immigrants may be willing to work for less. If immigrants do underbid natives for jobs, then in order to remain competitive in the labor market, natives will have to reduce their own expectations for compensation. Second, immigrants may be seen as more desirable workers by employers. If this is the case, natives will have to choose between offering their services for lower wages in order to remain competitive or suffer higher unemployment. The third reason for concern is that employers can use the threat of further immigration as a way of holding down the wages and benefits of workers. The more open the immigration policy, the more credible the threat becomes. The fourth and probably the most important reason to examine the impact of immigration on less-educated natives is that immigration increases the supply of labor. Basic economic theory predicts that the wages of those in competition with immigrants will decline as immigration increases the number of workers competing for jobs.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Immigrants Might Work For Less. For the most part, the research generally indicates that a few years after arrival, immigrant wages are very similar to those of natives in the same occupation with the same demographic characteristics. This may not be true in all places and at all times, but in general it seems that only newly arrived immigrants undercut native wages.
Immigrants Are Seen As Better Employees. There is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence and some systematic evidence that immigrants are seen as better workers by some employers, especially in comparison to native-born African Americans. It is certainly not uncommon to find small business men and women who will admit that they prefer Hispanic or Asian immigrants over native-born blacks. This is especially true of Hispanic and Asian employers, who often prefer to hire from within their own communities. We would expect that this preference on the part of some employers to want immigrants will result in lower wages and higher unemployment for those natives who are seen as less desirable.
A study of the Harlem labor market by Newman and Lennon (1995) provides some systematic evidence that employers prefer immigrants to native-born blacks. Their study found that although immigrants were only 11 percent of the job candidates in their sample, they represented 26.4 percent of those hired. Moreover, 41 percent of the immigrants in the sample were able to find employment within one year, in contrast to only 14 percent of native-born blacks. The authors conclude that immigrants fare better in the low-wage labor market because employers see immigrants as more desirable employees than native-born African-Americans. I have also found some evidence in my work that in comparison to whites, there is an added negative effect for being black and in competition with immigrants.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Threat of Further Immigration. While no real research has been done on this question, the threat of further immigration may also exert a significant downward pressure on wages. To see how this might work consider the following example: Workers in a meat packing plant that has seen a sudden rise in the number of immigrant workers will very quickly become aware that their employer now has another pool of labor from which he can draw. Thus, even if immigrants remain a relatively small portion of the plant's total workforce, because of our relatively open immigration policy, the potential of further immigration exists. Therefore, a relatively open immigration policy may have an effect on wages beyond what might be expected simply by looking at the number of immigrants in the country at any one time.
Immigration Increases the Supply of Labor. By far the most important impact immigration has on the workforce is by increasing the supply of labor. Based on the March 2002 Current Population Survey there were about almost 18 million adult immigrants in the American workforce. (All figures that follow are for legal and illegal immigrants, and are for persons 18 years of age and older.) However, they are not distributed evenly across occupations. In 2002, 30 percent of immigrants in the labor market had no high school education, and for those who entered in the preceding five years, 36 percent lacked a high school degree. In comparison, only 8 percent of natives in the work force did not have a high school education. Immigrants now comprise about 40 percent of the high school dropouts in the work force, while accounting for only 11 percent of workers with more than a high school education. If we look at occupations, we see the high concentration of immigrants at the bottom of labor market. In 2002, immigrants made up only 11 percent of individuals in managerial and professional jobs; in comparison, they comprised 23 percent of workers in service jobs, such as janitor, security guard, and child care worker. This means immigration has increased the supply of the some kinds of workers much more than others. As a result, any effect on the wages or job opportunities of natives will likely fall on natives employed in less-skilled and low-paying occupations.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Attempts to measure the actual labor market effects of recent immigration empirically have often come to contrary and conflicting conclusions. Studies done in the 1980s and early 1990s, which compared cities with different proportions of immigrants, generally found little effect from immigration (Butcher and Card, 1991; Altonji and Card, 1991; Borjas 1983, 1984). However, these studies have been widely criticized because they are based on the assumption that the labor market effects of immigration are confined to only those cities where immigrants reside.
Impact of Immigration Is National not Local. The interconnected nature of the nation's economy makes comparison of this kind very difficult for several reasons. Research by University of Michigan demographer William Frey (1993, 1996) and others, indicates that native-born workers, especially those natives with few years of schooling, tend to migrate out of high-immigrant areas. The migration of natives out of high-immigrant areas spreads the labor market effects of immigration from these areas to the rest of the country. There is also evidence that as the level of immigration increases to a city, the in-migration of natives is reduced.
In addition to internal migration patterns, the huge volume of goods and services exchanged between cities across the country creates pressure toward an equalization in the price of labor. For example, newly arrived immigrants who take jobs in manufacturing in a high-immigrant city such as Los Angeles come into direct and immediate competition with natives doing the same work in a low-immigrant city like Pittsburgh. The movement of capital seeking to take advantage of any immigrant-induced change in the local price of labor should also play a role in preserving wage equilibrium between cities. Beside the response of native workers and firms, immigrants themselves tend to migrate to those cities with higher wages. In short, the mobility of labor, goods, and capital as well as choices made by immigrants may diffuse the effect of immigration, making it very difficult to determine the impact of immigration by comparing cities.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The National Research Council. One way researchers have attempted to deal with the problems associated with cross-city comparisons is to estimate the increase in the supply of labor in one skill category relative to another skill category brought about by immigration in the country as a whole. The wage consequences of immigration are then calculated based on an existing body of literature that has examined the wage effects of changes in the ratio of skilled to unskilled workers. The National Research Council (NRC) relied on this method in its 1997 report entitled The New Americans (Edmonston and Smith, 1997). The NRC estimates that immigration has had a significant negative effect only on the wages of high school dropouts. The NRC concluded that the wages of the this group, 11 million of whom are natives, are reduced by roughly five percent ($13 billion a year) as a consequence of immigration. Not a small effect. Dropouts make up a large share of the working poor. In 1998, nearly one out of three native workers living in poverty lacked a high school education. Additionally, 1.6 million native families or more than three million people living in poverty depended on the wages of a person who lacks a high school education for support. Put another way, the wage losses suffered by high school dropouts because of immigration are roughly equal to the combined federal expenditures on subsidized School Lunches, low-income energy assistance, and the Women Infants and Children program.
Center for Immigration Studies Research. My own research suggests that the effect of immigration may be even greater than the estimates in the NRC report (Camarota 1997, 1998). I compared differences across occupations nationally and found that the concentration of immigrants in an occupation does adversely affect the wages of natives in the same occupation. In other words, there is a negative relationship between the percentage of immigrants in an occupation and the wages of natives in the same occupation, even after controlling for a wide variety of factors. By treating the entire nation as one labor market and comparing the effects of immigration across occupations, this approach avoids many of the problems associated with cross-city comparison.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
My results show that immigrants have a significant negative effect on the wages of natives employed in occupations performed by persons who have only a high school education or less. For the 23 percent of natives employed in these occupations (about 25 million workers), a 1 percent increase in the immigrant composition of their occupation reduces wages by .8 percent. Since these occupations are now on average 19 percent immigrant, my finding suggests that immigration may reduce the wages of workers in these occupation by more than 10 percent. It should also be added that since native-born blacks and Hispanics are 67 percent and 37 percent more likely respectively to be employed in the negatively affected occupations than are native-born whites, a much higher percentage of minorities are negatively affected by immigration. Moreover, because native-born blacks and Hispanics in these occupations earn on average 15 percent less than whites, the wage loss resulting from immigration is likely to represent a more significant reduction in the material prosperity for these groups.
Other Research. In a brand new study published in the current issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics of Harvard professor George Borjas (2003), who is regarded as the nation's leading immigration economist, found that each 10 percent increase in the supply of labor caused by immigration reduces wages for natives by 3 to 4 percent. While most of those adversely affected are less educated workers, his results hold true throughout the labor market. The results for more skilled workers are particularly important because few of the immigrants in this section of the economy are illegal aliens, yet the effect is the same lower wages for natives. This new research strongly indicates that the primary reason immigration lowers wages is not that immigrants are willing to work for less, rather lower wages are simply the result of immigration increasing the supply of labor.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Still other researchers have found that immigration adversely affects employment for natives. Augustine J. Kposowa (1995) found that a 1 percent increase in the immigrant composition of a metropolitan area increased unemployment among minorities by .13 percent. She concludes, ''Non-whites appear to lose jobs to immigrants and their earnings are depressed by immigrants.'' In a report published by the Rand Corporation, Kevin McCarthy and Georges Vernez (1997) estimated that in California alone competition with immigrants for jobs was responsible for between 128,200 and 194,000 people being unemployed or having withdrawn from the workforce. Almost all of these individuals either are high school dropouts or have only a high school degree. Additionally, most are either women or minorities.
Knowing that low-skilled natives are made poorer by immigration does not tell us what, if anything, we should do about it. The extent to which we take action to deal with the wage and employment effects of immigration depends on how concerned we are about the wages of the less-educated. A number of scholars have argued that the inability of low-skilled workers to earn a living wage contributes significantly to such social problems as welfare dependency, family breakup, and crime. One need not accept all the arguments made in this regard to acknowledge that a significant reduction in wages for the poorest Americans is a cause for real concern.
Leave Immigration Policy Unchanged. If we wish to do something about the effects of immigration, there are two possible sets of policy options that could be pursued. The first set would involve leaving immigration policy in place and doing more to ameliorate the harmful effects of immigration on natives in low-skilled occupations. Let me discuss two of the most commonly discussed ways of increasing wages without cutting immigration. Since the research indicates that the negative impact from immigration falls on those employed at the bottom of the labor market, an increase in the minimum may be helpful in offsetting some of the effects of immigration. Economic research indicates that the minimum wage does increase the wages for those who already have jobs. However, research also indicates that by raising the cost of labor, the minimum wage can cause unemployment by increasing the incentive to lay off workers and by making employers less willing to hire new ones. The size of the dis-employment effect, however, is a matter of significant debate in the economic literature. In regard to immigration, it seems clear that increasing the minimum wage and at the same time allowing in large numbers of less-skilled immigrants can only aggravate whatever dis-employment effects exist. In contrast, cutting low- and unskilled immigration would increase wages, without there being any potential for increasing unemployment among those earning the minimum wage.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Another program that might be helpful in assisting those harmed by immigrant competition is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). There is little doubt that the Credit increases the income of low-wage workers. However, in addition to the high cost to taxpayers, the Credit may also hold down wages because it acts as a subsidy to low-wage employers. That is, employers have less incentive to increase wages because workers are now being paid in part by the federal government. Cutting low- and unskilled immigration, on the other hand, has no such down side for less-skilled workers nor is it costly to taxpayers. Moreover, the Credit only increases earnings for those with jobs, it does not address increased unemployment among the less-skilled that comes with immigration. It is also worth remembering that dispersion of funds under the EITC is automatic. Since immigration lowers the wages for precisely those workers who already have low incomes, it is very likely that immigration increase the costs of the Credit to taxpayers. It is also possible that an increase in the Credit may only get incomes back to where they would have been had there been less immigration. Thus, to get the maximum benefit from an increase in the EITC it would be highly desirable to cut low- and unskilled immigration first and then increase the dollar value of the EITC. The resulting gains to low-wage workers are then more likely to amount to a significant improvement in the living standards of recipients.
Reducing Immigration. The second set of policy options that might be enacted to deal with this problem would involve changing immigration policy with the intent of reducing job competition for natives and immigrants already here. If we were to reduce unskilled immigration we might want to change the selection criteria to ensure that immigrants entering the country will not compete directly with the poorest and most vulnerable workers. At present, only about 12 percent of legal immigrants are admitted based on their skills or education. Since two-third of permanent residency visas are issued based on family relationships, reducing the flow of low-skilled legal immigrants would involve reducing the number of family-based visas. This might include eliminating the preferences now in the law for the siblings and adult children (over 21) of U.S. citizens and the adult children of legal permanent residents. These changes would not only reduce low-skilled legal immigration immediately, they would also limit the chain migration of low-skilled immigrants that occurs as the spouses of those admitted in the sibling and adult child categories petition to bring in their relatives. In addition to reducing the flow of low-skilled legal immigrants, a greater allocation of resources could be devoted to controlling illegal immigration especially in the interior of the country. This type of enforcement has not seen the same recent increases as border control. Illegal aliens tend to be very low skilled, with an estimated 75 percent lacking even a high school degree.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Benefits of Immigration
Of course, it is important to realize that wage losses suffered by the unskilled do not vanish into thin air. Many advocates of mass immigration will concede, at least in private, that low- and unskilled immigration reduces wages. However, they will point out that lower wages for the less-educated results in higher profits, and also increases the wages of more-educated Americans who can now be paid more. In other words, while immigration may make the poor poorer, it also creates a small net economic benefit for the country as a whole. The NRC estimated that the gain resulting from the wage loses suffered by the unskilled is equal to about 1 or 2 tenths of one percent of our total economy $1 to $10 billion. Thus, additional unskilled immigration can be justified on the ground that it creates a very small net benefit for the country as a whole, though it is bad for unskilled workers. The net gain is so small relative to the size of our economy because unskilled workers account for such a tiny proportion of the nation's total output. As a result, their wages can decline substantially without having a significant effect on the economy.
Even that very small benefit has been called into question by newer research published last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research. That paper published by two Columbia economist, David Weinstein and Donald Davis (2002), showed that by not letting wages and productivity rise, and instead continually adding immigrant labor, we are making our economy less productive. The resulting economic loss they estimated at over 70 billion a year.
The Economic and Fiscal Paradox
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a very high cost to cheap immigrant labor. The economic benefit from immigration comes from the fact that immigrants are significantly less skilled than natives. The resulting high concentration of immigrants at the bottom of the labor market is what causes the significant wage reductions that in turn generate the net gain for employers and others. But unskilled immigrants also have a negative effect on public coffers. In other words, it is precisely those workers who create the economic benefit by lowering the wages of unskilled workers, who are responsible for the fiscal burden. In fact, the fiscal cost (tax payments minus service use) created by immigrant households was estimated by the National Research Council to be between $11 and $22 billion dollars a year at the current time. This fiscal cost is large enough to offset the modest economic gains that come from access to immigrant labor. The fiscal burden associated with immigrants is entirely the result of low- and unskilled immigrants.
The National Research Council in 1997 found that during the course of his or her lifetime, the average immigrant without a high school degree will use $89,000 more in public services than he or she pays in taxes. For an immigrant with only a high school degree the figure is $31,000. They also found that immigrants with a college education tend to be a fiscal benefit paying considerably more in taxes than they use in services. But, overall the fiscal effect is negative because so many immigrants are poor and uneducated. This means that when the fiscal effects of low-skilled immigrants are considered, immigration reduces the wages of the most vulnerable Americans and creates an added fiscal burden for American taxpayers. And this burden is large enough to offset up any economic gain resulting from lower wages for the unskilled. In light of its impact on the poor and public coffers, it is therefore very hard to justify the continued mass migration of very low-skilled immigrants on the grounds that it is good for the country as a whole.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCConclusion
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that other factors in addition to immigration have had a negative impact on low-wage workers. Technological change and increased trade have also played a significant role in reducing the labor market opportunities for low-wage workers in the Untied States. However, immigration is unlike technological change or globalization because it is a discretionary policy that can be altered to suit our needs and values. After all, Congress cannot legislate a pause in the expansion of human knowledge or stop the Japanese from setting up factories in Malaysia but it can reduce unskilled immigration. And based on the latest research, we can do so secure in the knowledge that doing so will not harm to the U.S. economy. In fact, it would probably be good for the country as a whole. It should also be remember that any negative effect immigration may have on wages is not due primary to a willingness to work for less on the part of illegal immigrants or perhaps legal immigrants as well. Rather, it is mainly the increase in the supply of labor that creates lower wages for those who are in competition with immigrants.
In the end, arguments for or against immigration are as much political and moral as they are economic. If one is concerned about low-wage and less-skilled workers in the United States, then clearly our current policy is unwise. On the other hand, if one places a high priority on helping unskilled workers in other countries, then allowing in a large number of such workers makes sense. Of course, only an infinitesimal proportion of the world's poor could ever come to this country even under the most open immigration policy one might imagine. Those who support the current high level of unskilled immigration should at least do so with an understanding that those American workers harmed by the policies they favor are already the poorest and most vulnerable.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Altonji, Joseph G. and David Card. 1991. ''The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives'' in John M. Abowd and Richard B. Freeman editors, Immigration, Trade and Labor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Borjas, George J. 2003. ''The Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration in the Labor Market,'' Quarterly Journal of Economics. November, forthcoming.
Borjas, George. 1984. ''The Impact of Immigrants on the Earnings of the Native-Born,'' W.M. Briggs and M. Tienda, Editors, Immigration: Issues and Policies, Salt Lake City: Olympus.
Borjas, George J. 1983. ''The Substitutability of Black, Hispanic and White Labor. Economic Inquiry, Vol. 21.
Butcher, Kristin F. and David Card. 1991. ''Immigration and Wages: Evidence from the 1980s,'' The American Economic Review Vol 81.
Camarota, Steven A. 1998. The Wages of Immigration: The Effect on the Low-Skilled Labor Market, Washington D.C.: Center for Immigration Studies
Camarota, Steven A. 1997. ''The Effect of Immigrants on the Earnings of Low-skilled Native Workers: Evidence from the June 1991 Current Population Survey,'' Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 78.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Davis, Donald R. and David E. Weinstein 2002. ''Technological Superiority and the Losses From Migration Working Paper 8971'' National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge: MA.
Edmonston, Barry and James Smith Ed. 1997. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.
Frey, William H. 1993. Race, Class and Poverty Polarization of US Metro Areas: Findings from the 1990 Census, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Population Studies Center.
Frey, William H. 1996. ''Immigration, Domestic Migration, and Demographic Balkanization in America: New Evidence for the 1990s,'' Population and Development Review. Vol. 22.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Professor Briggs.
STATEMENT OF VERNON M. BRIGGS, JR., PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Mr. BRIGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Throughout its history, organized labor has recognized the importance of placing limits on immigration policy, and over the years, for at least 150 years, organized labor in whatever form it took always stood for an enforceable immigration system and a measured system of immigration. It recognized from the beginning that immigration is a human resource policy. It deals with the quantity and the skill composition of the nation's labor force and has enormous implications for that purpose. It is not a policy of fiscal and monetary policy. It is a human resource policy and should be judged accordingly.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
When the American Federation of Labor was first founded just shortly before the Supreme Court clearly established that immigration is the sole responsibility of the Federal Government, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, who was himself an immigrant, said that the AFL immediately recognized the importance of restricting immigration. That doesn't mean no immigration, but restricting and enforcing an immigration policy.
In his autobiography, he said, quote, ''Immigration is in its fundamental aspects a labor problem,'' unquote, and I believe that sincerely. It is fundamentally a labor problem, and that is how immigration policy should be judged. Immigrants come here to work and they have influence on those others who do work. Also, their spouses and children ultimately do work. So it's fundamentally a labor issue. I think he was absolutely correct on that issue.
Until relatively recently, just in the last decade, organized labor recognized the wisdom of those words and acted accordingly. The first objective was to further the economic interest of citizen workers, native born and foreign born. That's the first responsibility of a labor movement and it should be the first responsibility of labor policy in the United States.
It is not to become the advocate of the pro-immigrant political lobby in supporting all kinds of things that are certainly contrary to the interest of working people, and this runs the gamut from more amnesties to guest worker programs to programs for getting for drivers' licenses, for repealing employer sanctions, all of these types of things that the pro-immigrant lobby pushes for. Workers have no interest in any of that nonsense.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Studies on effective immigration on the workers have shown especially it's the low-skilled workers who are impacted, and in the written testimony, I've gone through page after page of the finest and most outstanding scholars in American history who have studied this issue. This is not a new issue, and the lessons are uniform, that it adversely affects ourthat when immigration levels rise, the people that are affected the most are low-skilled workers. They are affected adversely. When immigration levels go down, their wages go up, union membership goes up, and all the rest of it. Workers are better off. And they've recognized that and acted accordingly.
For most of its years, the AFL reflected that view, and certainly their imprint was on every piece of immigration legislation up coming until the 1990's. In the recent times, the AFL-CIO has shifted its position to become an advocate for lax immigration enforcement and for mass amnesties. Why the shift?
First of all, because labor has been encountering increasingly labor markets and urban labor markets that are overwhelmed by large numbers of recent immigrants, many of them illegal, and it has decided that these top immigrant issues have become more attractive to some of these new immigrant populations. It is a more pragmatic policy and it's a sad one. Unions do not hire workers. Employers do. Unions can only organize workers that employers hire.
Increasingly, employers are hiring illegal immigrants and they are present in large numbers and the Government is not doing anything to stop it. The one thing that should be done constantly is get illegal immigrants out of the labor force by enforcing employer sanctions at the worksite. That is the number one public policy that ought to be discussed these days when we talk about immigration reform.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It also seems today thatand unfortunately, this is a sad union policy as they have shifted to try to defend illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court has now ruled in 2002 that the National Labor Relations Act does not protect workers who can be dismissed for union activities, so it's futile to really go out and try to organize illegal immigrants in the workplace since employers can fire them on the spot for union activity. It's perfectly legal according to what the Supreme Court said. So this is a counterproductive action by the labor movement.
Finally, it seems like it's good politics in many ways for a labor movement. Unfortunately, the immigration issue has been totally taken over today by special interest groups, the exact groups that Father Hesburgh 20 years ago warned to not listen toracial groups, ethnic groups, the religious organizations, business organizations, corporate business looking for cheap labor, and economic libertarian views. It's right in their final report. Those are not the people to listen to in terms of forming immigration policy. They're only interested in special interests, and this is their political agenda.
Unfortunately, the labor movements, given the situation that it's confronted in the labor market today, that it seems that it has to in some sense try to identify with these groups and to be part of a political coalition, supposedly to perhaps pick up some crumbs. But this would be a self-defeating process because the more immigrants come in, especially illegal ones, into the labor market, the more difficult it is for the unions to actually be successful in ever raising wages, even if the people join the unions.
It's also not going to be long before most American workers begin to realize, if they haven't realized it already, that the labor movement, the champions of all kind of American workers, have now turned against them with its advocacy for lax immigration policies and for amnesties and all the rest of these things.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Just in conclusion, let me say what is bad economicsand there are ten pages in that testimony on what is bad economics for working people by the best names this profession has ever put forth over the decades, and they're all there for you to read if you'll please read themwhat is bad economics for American workers cannot be good politics for American unions and it cannot be good public policy for the United States. Thank you.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Professor Briggs.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Briggs follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF VERNON M. BRIGGS, JR.
Immigration policy is a form of human resource development which is the sole responsibility of the federal government. As such, it has economic consequences on the nation's labor market. Depending on its provisions and its enforcement, immigration policy can influence both the quantitative size and the qualitative skill level of the labor force. As immigrants have never been equally distributed across the country, there are differential scale effects on local and regional labor markets. The manifestations of these effects are employment and wage outcomes. Depending on the historical setting when specific policies are implemented the outcomes may vary but they will always be there.
What has happened?
Within a year after the U.S. Supreme Court established that the federal government has the sole responsibility for the formation and enforcement of the nation's immigration policies (in 1892), ''the labor movement was among the first organizations'' to urge that limits be set and subsequent policy enactments be accountable for their economic consequences.(see footnote 1) It was in this context that Samuel Gompers - the President of The American Federation of Labor and an immigrant himself- said ''we immediately realized that immigration is, in its fundamental aspects, a labor problem.''(see footnote 2) All immigrants have to work or be supported by those who do. In most instances, so do their spouses and children eventually.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Indeed, every significant piece of immigration legislation enacted by Congress from the time that it initiated efforts to influence immigration flows in 1864 until the late 1980s bares the stamp of organized labor in its support for passage or was caused to be repealed as the result of labor opposition.(see footnote 3) Moreover, the ebbs and flows of membership in American unions since 1860 have over time generally been the inverse of immigration trends. When immigration levels decline union membership rises; when immigration levels rise, union membership falls (see Figure 1 at the end of this statement).
During the 1980s, the AFL-CIO strongly supported the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). At its 1985 convention, resolutions were passed that supported the adoption of sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants; favored the creation of ''an eligibility verification system that is secure and non-forgeable;'' created an amnesty program for illegal already in the United States; and opposed ''any new 'guestworker' or 'bracero' program.''(see footnote 4) After IRCA was passed, the AFL-CIO adopted a resolution in 1987 that called the new legislation ''the most important and far reaching immigration legislation in 30 years'' and, it noted that in particular ''the AFL-CIO applauds the inclusion in that law of employer sanctions and of a far-reaching legalization [i.e., amnesty] program.''(see footnote 5)
But in the late 1980s the leadership of the AFL-CIO began to waffle on its historic policy position of protecting the interests of American workers from the adverse economic effects of mass immigration. The AFL-CIO did not take a prominent role in the political posturing preceding the ultimate passage of the Immigration Act of 1990. It did not clearly articulate what it favored; it did not specify what it was against.(see footnote 6) At its 1989 Convention, a resolution was adopted that stated that it ''opposes any reduction in the number of family-based visas or any erosion in the definition of the family.'' Furthermore, it opposed increasing the number of employment-based immigrants because they represented ''a brain drain'' of other nations and the AFL-CIO preferred to expand domestic policies ''to increase our investment in education and job training in this country.''
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Immigration Act of 1990 passed. It significantly raised the prevailing legal immigration levels by about 35 percentto 700,000 visas a year from 1991 through 1994 and to 675,000 visas a year thereafter. It did not reduce the number of family-based visas (in fact, it increased them) nor did it change the definition of what constitutes a family. The number of employment-based visas was significantly increased from 54,000 to 140,000 a year. It added a new ''diversity'' admission category (originally with 40,000 visas a year but increasing to 55,000 visas a year in 1995); and it expanded the ease by which employers could get access to a variety of foreign workers on a temporary basis.
In terms of its prospective long term impact on the U.S. population and labor force, the Immigration Act of 1990 is the most significant domestic legislation enacted by Congress since that time. Given its provisions, the U.S. Bureau of the Census projects that two-thirds of the expected population increase of the United States to the year 2050 of 131 million people (or about 80 million people) will be the consequence of the presence of the immigrants themselves and of their children.(see footnote 7) Speaking to this point the National Research Council (NRC) has stated that, ''immigration, then, will obviously play the dominant role in the future population growth of the United States.''(see footnote 8)
At its 1993 convention, the AFL-CIO reversed course entirely. The convention adopted a resolution that praised the role that immigrants have played in building the nation. Furthermore, it demonized unidentified advocates of immigration reform for launching ''a new hate campaign cynically designed to exploit public anxiety by making immigrants and refugees the scapegoats for economic and social problems.''(see footnote 9) It concluded that ''immigrants are not the cause of our nation's problems.''(see footnote 10) The resolution also encouraged affiliated unions ''to develop programs to address the special needs of immigrant members and potential members'' and called for member unions to work with ''immigrant advocacy groups and service organizations'' to protect the interests of new immigrants. Clearly, a new immigration attitude was emerging within the leadership of the AFL-CIO.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (CIR), which was created to study the efforts of the Immigration Act of 1990, was reporting its interim findings. Chaired by Barbara Jordan throughout most of its years of its operation, CIR concluded that ''our current immigration system must undergo major reform'' and requires ''a significant redefinition of priorities.''(see footnote 11) It recommended a 35 percent reduction of legal admissions back to the pre-1990 levels; the elimination of the extended family preferences for admission; the elimination of the employment-based provision that permits unskilled workers to be admitted; a return to the policy of including refugees within the total number of immigrants that are admitted each year; no new foreign guestworker programs; and a crack down on illegal immigration.(see footnote 12) Against this backdrop, the AFL-CIO entered the fray in 1995 by opposing all the proposed changes. Despite extensive research and findings to the contrary, it adopted a policy resolution was adopted at its convention that year that asserted that, ''the notion that immigrants are the blame for the deteriorating living standards of America's low-wage workers must be clearly rejected.''(see footnote 13) Rather than immigration reform, it proposed increasing the minimum wage, adopting universal health care and enacting labor law reform as the remedies for the widening income disparity in the nation.
Aware of the findings of CIR by this time, Congress took up the issue of immigration reform in the in the Spring of 1996. During its debates, the AFL-CIO allied itself with other anti-reform groups to oppose most of the proposed changes. Together, they succeeded in having Congress separate all the legal reform measures from the pending bill and then killing them, stripping form the remaining bill the key proposals for verifications of the authenticity of the social security numbers as a way to reduce illegal immigration; and dropping efforts to limit refugee admissions. By joining with a coalition of some of the most anti-union organizations in the country, labor leaders succeeded in blocking immigration reform design primarily to protect the economic well-being of low skilled workers. Devoid of any legal immigration reform and containing watered-down steps to reduce illegal immigration, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 was passed.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
At its October 1999 membership convention held in Los Angeles, the pro-immigrant element within the AFL-IO made its next move. Gaining support from unions representing janitors, garment workers, restaurant workers and hotel housekeepers, they argued that unions needed to overtly embrace immigrants if the movement is to survive. They buttressed their case by citing incidents whereby employers used immigration law to intimidate or to dismiss immigrant workers who were involved in trying to form unions. In particular, these advocates sought to end the employer sanctions provision created by the IRCA in 1986 (which organized labor had strongly supported) and to enact yet another general amnesty for those illegal immigrants now in the country. Support for this effort was far from unanimous.
To avoid a public confrontation, AFL-CIO officials agreed that the motion would be briefly debated and then referred to a committee for study. It was done. When the AFL-CIO Executive Committee met in New Orleans in February 2000, it consummated its break from the past.(see footnote 14) It would now support expanded immigration, lenient enforcement of immigration laws, and the legislative agenda of immigrants (which include repeal of sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants; generous amnesties for the six illegal immigrants already in the United States at the time and liberalizing restrictions on foreign guest workers who seek to work in the United States). Thus, the one societal body that had for over a century faithfully and consistently supported reasonable and enforceable immigration policies to protect the nation's working people was poised to betray their trust.
While some union leaders cheered these actions as did some business lobbyists in the days that followed, The New York Times editorialized that the AFL-CIO's proposal should be rejected'' as it would ''undermine the integrity of the country's immigration laws and would depress the wages of the lowest-paid native born workers.''(see footnote 15)
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The final step in this saga was taken at the December 2001 convention of AFL-CIO held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seemingly oblivious to the horrendous terrorist events of September 11, 2001, the AFL-CIO at its membership adopted the aforementioned pro-immigration agenda put forth by its Executive Council.(see footnote 16) It is hard to imagine a worse-time to announce that the labor movement was abandoning its historic pro-worker stance on immigration in order to become an advocate for loose immigration enforcement. The fact that both the unemployment rate and poverty levels were rising sharply at the same time cast even more doubt on the wisdom of such an action.
Only three months later, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a major finding that illegal immigrants are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act if they are dismissed for union-organizing activities.(see footnote 17) As Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist stated in the majority decision, ''awarding back pay to illegal aliens runs counter to policies underlying federal immigration laws.''(see footnote 18) The national interest is to keep people who violate immigration laws out of the labor market; it is not in the national interest to afford legal rights to people who are not legally entitled to be working in the country in the first place.
Why the Change in Position?
There are multiple reasons why organized labor has changed its historic position on immigration. The first explanation is the obvious one. Namely, with the foreign born population in the United States now exceeding 33 million people (of whom over 20 million are in the civilian labor force), the AFL-CIO organizing campaigns in a number of large urban areas are encountering large concentrations of immigrant workers. Many are illegal immigrants. The leadership believes, therefore, it is pragmatic to adopt a more accommodating stance.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secondly, there is the key self-defense issue. Some employers use the threat (or actual practice) of turning illegal immigrants into federal immigration authorities if they seek to vote (or do vote) in union certification elections. U.S. courts have upheld the right of ''all employeesincluding those who may be subject to termination in the future . . . to vote on whether they want to be represented by a union.''(see footnote 19) Furthermore, the federal government announced in the Spring of 1999 that it was essentially abandoning enforcement of employer sanctions at the work site in favor of focusing on human smuggling activities, border management, and criminal deportations. This means that illegal immigrants have little to fear about government enforcement raids unless employers report them.(see footnote 20) Thus, if illegal immigrants are at the work site, unions have to organize the workers that employers hire. If the government is not going to police worksites, unions must seek to enlist the illegal immigrants as members or abandon their organizing efforts with the enterprise in question. Should unions give up such organizing, employers will have an even greater incentive to hire more illegal immigrants than they already do. Thus, organizing and protecting illegal immigrants is not viewed as a matter of principle, it is seen as a matter of necessity.
Finally, there is the political posturing that has now captured the entire immigration reform movement. The leaders of both major political partiessometimes referred to as ''elites''believe they can gain from pandering to pro-immigrant forces (i.e., racial, ethnic, and religious groups) who are seeking to increase their ranks in the belief that it will enhance the political influence of their particular group. Similarly, there is the ever present special interests of business lobbyists always looking for cheap labor and economic libertarians who believe in open borders as a matter of principle. As a consequence political scientists James Gimple and James Edwards have described the result: ''The will of the people has had little impact on the tone or direction of the immigration debate in Washington.''(see footnote 21) Countless public opinion polls that have called for reduced immigration levels and strict enforcement (not accommodation) of existing law against illegal immigrants are simply ignored. Organized labor, it seems fears it will be left out if it adheres to its traditional posture of defending the interests of American workers. In other words, it has made a pragmatic decision ''to throw in the towel'' in favor of lax immigration polices rather than to go down fighting when the outcome of the political bout is already fixed.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Sorry Fate of Unskilled Workers
Throughout the long academic history of assessing the impact of immigration on the American labor force, there is one constant theme: the immigration inflow has traditionally been dominated by low skilled and poorly educated persons. It remains so today.
The 2000 Census revealed that 58 percent (12.8 million) of the adult foreign born population have only a high school education or less. At a time when the nation has been trying to reduce the size of its low skilled labor pool, immigration policy is flooding that sector of the labor market with a additional flow of poorly educated immigrant workers. Furthermore, the United States still has a substantial number of native born adults in the population. In 2000, 47.7% of the native born adult population only had a high school diploma or less. That percentage translates into a staggering 72 million people. This is a substantial pool of adult native born workers who potentially compete with the preponderance of the adult foreign born population for jobs, income, and social services.
Research on the impact of mass immigration on the economic well-being of workers has consistently found that organized labor's earlier support for restrictive measures was amply justified. In the post Civil-War era when the fledgling labor movement initially began to press immigration reforms, economists Timothy Hatton and Jeffrey Williamson have found that urban real wages would have been 14 percent higher in 1890 were it not for the high immigration levels of the preceding 20 years.(see footnote 22) Their findings supported the earlier conclusions of Stanley Lebergott that real wages in the 25 years following the Civil War tended to move inversely with the ebbs and flows of immigration levels over this timespan.(see footnote 23)
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Likewise, studies of the more massive immigration that occurred between 1890 and 1914 were even more supportive of the AFL's strenuous efforts to reduce immigration levels during this era. Hatton and Williamson found that, in the absence of the large-scale immigration that occurred after 1890, the urban real wage would have been 34 percent higher in 1910. Parenthetically, they observed that ''with an impact that big, no wonder the Immigration Commission produced a massive report in 1911 which supported quotas!'' (see footnote 24) Likewise, economists Harry Millis and Royal Montgomery wrote of this era that organized labor was correct in its assessment of adverse economic impact of immigration on American workers ''as labor markets were flooded, the labor supply was made more redundant, and wages were undermined''.(see footnote 25)
Following the the enactment of the first ceilings on immigration in U.S. history, the economic gains to workers were found to be immediate. Indeed, labor historian Joseph Rayback called the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924 ''the most significant pieces of ''labor'' legislation enacted during'' the post-World War I era.''(see footnote 26) Mills and Montgomery likewise observed ''from the international viewpoint the morality of the postwar immigration policy of the United States may be questioned, but of its economic effect in raising real earnings there can be little question.''(see footnote 27) Lebergott, who attributed this tripling of real wages for urban workers that occurred in the 1920s to the substantial immigration reductions that occurred in this period, observed that ''political changes in the supply of labor can be more effective in determining wages than even explicit attempts to fix wages.''(see footnote 28) What more powerful statement can be made about the significance of the adoption of reasonable immigration polices to the enhancement of worker welfare in the united States?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
More recently, a special panel created by the National Research Council (NRC) issued in 1997 a report on the economic effects of the contemporary immigration experience of the United States.(see footnote 29) The research had been contracted by the Commission on Immigration Reform to provide the analytical basis for the conduct of its six-year investigation of the impact of immigration on the people of the nation. The NRC report catalogued the fact that the educational attainment levels of post-1965 immigrants have steadily declined. Consequently, foreign-born workers on average, earn less than native-born workers and the earnings gap has widened over the years. Those from Latin America (including Mexico) presently account for over half of the entire foreign-born population of the nation, and they earn the lowest wages. Thus, the NRC, found no evidence of discriminatory wages being paid to immigrants. Rather, it found that immigrant workers are paid less than native-born workers because, in fact, they are less skilled and less educated. The relative declines in both skills and wages of the foreign-born population was attributed to the fact that most immigrants are coming from the poorer nations of the world, where the average wages, educational attainment, and skill levels are far below those in the United States. As a direct consequence, post-1965 immigrants are disproportionately increasing the segment of the nation's labor supply that has the lowest human capital endowments. In the process, they are suppressing the wages of all workers in the low skilled sector of the labor market. More specifically, the study documented the fact that almost half of the decline in real wages for native-born high school dropouts (i.e., unskilled workers) from 19801994 could be attributed to the adverse competitive impact of unskilled foreign workers. It was for this very reason that Chair Barbara Jordan summarized CIR's proposed recommendations on legal immigration reform by stating:
What the Commission is concerned about are the unskilled workers in our society. In an age in which unskilled workers have far two few opportunities opened to them, and in which welfare reform will require thousands more to find jobs, the Commission sees no justification for the continued entry of unskilled foreign workers.(see footnote 30)
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It was in the same macro context that the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) to the President identified post-1965 mass immigration as being one of the contributing factors to the worsening income disparity that the nation experienced has since 1968. In 1994 the CEA explained that ''immigration has increased the relative supply of less educated labor and appears to have contributed to the increasing inequality of income.''(see footnote 31)
Since 1965, when policymakers inadvertently awakened the phenomenon of mass immigration from out of the nation's distant past, the foreign-born population of the United States has increased by 282 percent, (from 8.5 million immigrants to 32.5 million immigrants); the civilian labor force has risen by 100 percent (from 74.4 million workers, to 148 million workers); but union membership has fallen by 11.5 percent (from 18.2 million members, to 16.1 million members) over this interval. Since 1968 (the year the Immigration Act of 1965 took full effect), the distribution of income within the nation has steadily become more unequal. The decline in union membership and the impact of mass immigration have been both identified by the CEA as contributing explanation for the worsening income inequality in the nation. (see footnote 32)
In this environment, mass immigration has once more done what it did in the past. It has lessened the effectiveness of unions and, accordingly, diminished their attractiveness to workers. To be sure, there are other factors involved in the membership decline of organized labor but mass immigration is one of the key factors. (see footnote 33)
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The nation's immigration laws need to be strengthened, not weakened or repealed. Employer sanctions set the moral tone for immigration policy at the workplace. The identification loopholes need to be plugged and worksite enforcement given priority, not neglected. There should not be more mass amnesties for persons who have brazenly violated the laws that, since 1986, clearly state that illegal immigrants should not be in the workplace in the first place. Such amnesties only encourage others to enter illegally and hope for another amnesty. The mass amnesty of persons who are overwhelmingly unskilled and poorly educated only adds to the competition for low wage jobs with the citizens and permanent resident aliens. Moreover, as noted earlier, mass amnesties since the onset of foreign terrorism endanger national security because they bypass meaningful background checks that are required of all legal immigrants.
Rather than pursue its past role as a careful monitor of the impact of the nation's immigration policies on the economic well-being of working people, the AFL-CIO has chosen to become an advocate for the pro-immigrant political agenda. But his strategy comes with a heavy cost. First, it means that success in the organization of immigrants will not translate into any real ability to increase significantly the wages or benefits of such organized workers. As long as the labor market continues to be flooded with low-skilled immigrant job seekers, unions will not be able to defy the market forces that will suppress upward wage pressures. Secondly, the focus on the advancement of the interests of low-skilled immigrant workers can only cause the alienation of low-skilled native-born workers who must compete for these same jobs because they lack the human capital to qualify for better ones. How long can it be until these other workers recognize that their ambitions for higher wages and better living standards cannot be achieved as long as mass immigration is allowed to flood low wage labor markets?
The fundamental issue for labor has never been: should unions organize immigrants? Of course they must, as they have always done. Rather, it is should labor seek to organize workers specifically because they are immigrants, and in the process, become a proactive advocate for immigrant causes? Or should unions do as they have in the past: seek only to organize all workers purely on the grounds of the pursuit of their economic well-being?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If labor seeks to organize immigrants on the same basis as it does native-born workers (i.e., making no distinction between the nativity of workers), there is no reason to embrace the broad range of immigrant policy issues. Indeed, the hard reality of the lessons of labor history is that the more generous the immigration policy, the worse it is for all workers in their efforts to raise wages, to improve working conditions, and to secure employment opportunities. The wisdom of economist Melvin Reder, a pioneer in the analysis of the labor market impact of immigration, should always be kept in mind:
One immigration policy inevitably reflects a kind of national selfishness of which the major beneficiaries are the least fortunate among us. We could not completely abandon the policy, even if we so desired.(see footnote 34)
What is bad economics for working people cannot be good politics for unions or good public policy for the nation.
Sources for Figure 1 are:
1 Foreign Born Data: 7901850: Elizabeth W. Gilbey and Edgar Hoover, ''Population and Immigration,'' in American Economic History, Edited by Seymour Harris, (McGraw-Hill, 1961). Table 6; 18602002: U.S. Bureau of the Census (various reports).
2 Union Data: 8701890: Lloyd Ulman '' The Development of Trade and Labor Unions,'' in American History, Edited by Seymour Harris, (McGraw-Hill, 961), p. 363.; 18901980: Leo Troy and Neil Sheflin, U.S. Union Sourcebook, (Industrial Relations and Information Sources, 1985). 19902002 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Note: The percentage is of unionized of wage and salaried employees for this latter data series).
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Anderson.
STATEMENT OF TERRY ANDERSON, THE TERRY ANDERSON SHOW, KRLA
Mr. ANDERSON. I don't have the credentials of these gentlemen. I feel paled by their presence. But I will say this. I have an advantage that they don't have. I have lived my entire life in the streets of Los Angeles. I am a person from the streets, not homeless, but from the streets, and I have my finger on the pulse of Los Angeles and the rest of this country now.
I have a radio show. I never thought I would be there, but I am, and I am telling you folks something. There is a huge disconnect between the people in this room and the people in this city and the rest of the people in this country. The people in this country are angry over this situation of these guest worker programs and these amnesties and all these other things that are being proposed here in Hollywood. People are angry about this.
We just threw a governor out of office in California. A Democratic State threw a Democratic governor out of office. That was not easy, and Democrats had to do that, Democrats and Republicans. Why? Because the many policies he's had, one of them was to get rid of one of our propositions, Prop 187. The other was signing a drivers' license bill for illegal aliens so that they could go to work.
Illegal aliens in the State of California are killing the economy there. Yes, they're making money for their bosses, but they're killing the worker. The worker is dying there because of this.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We had a strike with janitors in Century City and Beverly Hills back in the 1980's. The black janitors there, predominately black, were making $13 an hour. The union was broken by the ruthless employers. They hired all illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico, and as a result, those black janitors were out on their ear. The wages then went to minimum wage and then those people went on strike and that wage then went up to $6, $7 an hour. That is not progress to me. And nobody stood up for those black janitors. Not one person stood up for those black janitors.
But let me say this. That is not an isolated incident. I've got an article right here that I just found. This is printed in Newsday, July 29 of this year. It talks about Pick Sweet Frozen Foods who would not hire blacks and whites. They only hired Hispanic immigrants, and there was a class action lawsuit that they lost because they would not hire black Americans, white Americans.
The people that called my radio show, blacks, whites, American Hispanics, American Asians, are angry over this issue, and you folks should understand, this is going to boil over. This is going to boil over. They are angry over this issue because nobody is listening to them.
When I've got kids in my community who cannot work at McDonald's because they don't speak Spanish, and these are black, white, and Hispanic managers who own these McDonald's and they go in to get these jobs, you know what they're told? Well, we can't hire you because our entire kitchen is Spanish speaking. Now, is that fair for a kid who's been in this country his whole life, that he cannot get a job flipping a hamburger because he can't speak a foreign language? That is not fair, and the reason why the numbers are so high is because of illegal immigration in the State of California.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I went to BWI airport last week when I was here. Everybody working in the airport was black. I was shocked. You won't find a black worker in LAX anymore. You know why? Because of the massive amounts of Hispanics that have come here, been legalized, have been gotten in on the amnesty program and whatever. Now, they have just totally displaced the black workers everywhere.
I use BWI as an example, but it's happening everywhere, folks, everywhere. The people that call my radio show, and I'm on in eight States in this country and I get calls from all 50 because I'm on the Internet, these people are angry and I don't think you people understand it. These people are angry about this. They are being displaced in their homes, their neighborhoods. They are being displaced in the workforce and they're angry about that. And if something's not done, this country is going to boil over. That is not a threat, it's a prediction, and it's the voice of the people.
I get many, many calls from very, very liberalI'm a very conservative person, but I get many calls from liberal Democrats who are anti-gun, anti-war, anti-abortionI mean, excuse me, pro-abortion, and they are against this issue also. They want the immigration issue fixed because they are worried about their jobs. And it's not just the entry-level jobs, folks. Now we've got the H1Bs and all of the other jobs that are taken from the people at the bottom pushes those people up a little bit, which is good, but it also pushes them up into the next rung of employment, which hurts those people.
Illegal immigration is killing the workforce. Legal immigration is killing the workforce. And the American worker is the guy that's coming up short and I don't understand why this body of people in this city does not understand that. This is hurting the black community, it's hurting the Hispanic community, it's hurting poor whites, it is hurting the working American in this country.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I hear story after story after story. Bricklayers, drywallers, framers, carpenters, roofers, none of them can get any jobs anymore. Body and fender men were making $20 to $25 an hour in Los Angeles in the 1970's, predominately black and American Hispanic workers. You will not find a body and fender person now making more than $8 to $10 in that city and they are all non-English-speaking Hispanic people.
The greatest man that I ever knew in my life, folks, was my father, and he taught me one thing. He says, ''You must take care of home.'' Anthony Anderson taught me that when I was 5 years old. We are not taking care of home.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Anderson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF TERRY ANDERSON
In the 50 years that I have lived in South Central Los Angeles I have seen many changessome good, some bad. But the recent changes in the last 15 years due to massive and illegal immigration have been devastating to my community. This is not a racial matter, though black Americans are hit the hardest due to the destination of the newly arrived. They come first to our community and have overwhelmed us in terms of educational quality, job displacement and neighborhood compatibility. Also hit hard are American hispanics and white blue collar workers. These are facts.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One good example is what happened to the janitors in Century City and Beverly Hills, who, in the 1980's were making upwards of $13.00 an hourwhich was good money 20 years ago. Well over 90% of them were black. Illegal alien janitors were brought in and those decent earnings fell to minimum wage. As soon as all the American workers were gone, the illegal alien and immigrant workers staged a strike and the wages increased, although nowhere near the previous level in terms of real earnings. This disparity was even noticed by some of the very people who advocate for the illegal alien and immigrant workers, as found on the World Socialist Website. Note what they said on April 26, 2000:
Los Angeles janitors end strike
By John Andrews
''On Monday, April 24, Los Angeles janitors ended their three-week strike and approved a contract that provides moderate wage increases, plus a $500 signing bonus. The wage increases range from $1.50 to $1.90 over the next three years, far short of the union's original demands for a $3.00 raise in the same period. Starting wages for janitors will now be between $6.90 to $7.90 per hour.
In the 1980's janitors were making as much as $13 an hour until the maintenance contractors smashed their union and replaced the primarily black workforce with non-union Latin American immigrant workers.''
These were an immigration advocate's words, not mine and this scenario has repeated itself many times, not only in California but now in an ever growing number of states. American roofers, drywallers, pavers,framers, janitors, brick layers, carpenters, tilers, painters and body and fender workers are becoming endangered species in their own country, unable to find work in many cases and when it is found the wages are too low to exist on. Many of these displaced American workers are experts at their trades but can not compete with people coming here ready and willing to work for one third and sometimes one fourth of the prevailing wage.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I ask the question: WHEN will somebody stand up and advocate for the American worker? They have no voice! Even their elected officials have completely turned their backs on them except to use their unemployment figures to create statistical data about anonymous and faceless Americans, when it suits their political agenda. Never a mention of WHY American workers are unemployed and how the lack of immigration law enforcement has largely caused this problem.
I am a radio talkshow host in Los Angeles, California, ground zero for illegal immigration. I have gotten hundreds of radio show calls from black, white and American hispanics who tell me the same story. They have been displaced by immigrant and illegal alien workers! I have gotten thousands of emails from those who are in dire straits and have lost or are losing their employment due to massive and illegal immigration. I have gone on the streets and talked to people at random here in the black community and they all ask me the same question: WHY are our politicians and leaders letting this happen? I have no answer for them. Notice what a California politician had to say in the same World Socialist article about the janitor strike being settled:
''They called it a victory for working immigrants everywhere. Former California Assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa topped it all, claiming that the settlement demonstrates 'Latinos can come to this country to work and lift themselves up to reach the middle class.' ''Of course, that quote was from a politician trying to make himself look good. The new janitor wage was nowhere close to middle class money. But the employer got what he wantedvery cheap workers happy to be exploited a little less than before. This is not progress.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I ask you, WHERE was the outrage over the black janitors being displaced? Where was the outcry for the disgraceful way the employer treated his ''fellow'' American? Why only the mention of working ''immigrants'' and ''Latinos''? And my last question: WHERE, WHERE WHERE was the Black Caucus when those AMERICAN black workers were faced with illegal aliens (a known fact at the time) taking their jobs? WHERE? I have asked this last question many times to members of Congress. I have yet to get an answer.
This is a never ending story in this country today and yet amnesties, guest worker programs, 245i, the DREAM Act, drivers licenses for illegal aliens, in-state tuition, acceptance of the Matricula Consular card and anything else that will help dig the hole deeper for the American worker are being pushed on an unaware and ignorant populace. Everything for the immigrant and illegal alien but nothing, NOTHING for the American.
Congress should understand that people in California are angry and getting angrier. The recall of a governor was just the beginning unless something changes here in the capitol to end immigration anarchy. Our blue collar middle class is being destroyed by Washington policiesfirst by allowing U.S. factories to be sent overseas and now by importing millions of excess foreign workers to gut the wage levels. Just how are working class Americans supposed to live? Oh, I forgot, become a computer programmer so the H1-B's can come in and displace us yet one more time.
Los Angeles janitors end strike
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair now recognizes Mr. Griswold for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF DANIEL T. GRISWOLD, CATO INSTITUTE
Mr. GRISWOLD. Mr. Chairman, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for allowing the Cato Institute to testify today at this hearing on the subject of immigration and American workers.
Immigration has been a blessing to the United States throughout our history and continues to bless Americans today. Immigrants play an important part in the success of America's free enterprise economy, filling important niches in the labor market. Immigrants gravitate to occupations where the gap between supply of workers and demand for them is greatest, typically in the highest-skilled and in the lowest-skilled jobs. That hourglass shape of the immigration labor pool complements the native workforce, where most workers fall in the middle in the range of skills, in terms of skills and education. As a result, immigrants do not compete directly with the vast majority of American workers.
Immigration provides a safety valve for the U.S. labor market, allowing the supply of workers to increase relatively quickly to meet rising demand. When demand falls, would-be immigrants can decide to go back home. They can decide not to come here in the first place. The result is a more efficient economy that can achieve a higher rate of sustained growth without encountering bottlenecks or inflationary pressures.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The impact of immigration on the relatively small segment of the workforce that does compete directly with immigrants is more than offset by the lower prices that all workers enjoy for the goods produced by immigrants and the higher return on investment in the United States.
The comprehensive study by the National Research Council in 1997, and it is the best study done on immigration that we have, concluded that immigration delivers, quote, ''a significant positive gain,'' unquote, of up to $10 billion a year to native Americans, native-born Americans, and those gains from immigration recur year after year.
America's recent history confirms that our economy can prosper during times of robust immigration. During the long expansion of the 1990's, unemployment fell to below 4 percent. Incomes rose up and down the income scale, including for the poorest one-fifth. The poverty rate fell by 3 percentage points. It fell by 10 percentage points for black Americans, and this during a time of robust immigration, both high-skilled and low-skilled.
Low-skilled immigrants benefit the U.S. economy by filling jobs for which the large majority of American workers are overqualified and unwilling to fill. Important sectors of the U.S. economy depend on low-skilled workers, including immigrants, to remain in business. Hotels and motels, restaurants, construction, light manufacturingthere are one million undocumented workers in manufacturing in the United States keeping some of these sectors goinghealth care, retailing, and other services.
The demand for less-skilled labor will continue to grow in the years ahead. According to the Department of Labor, the largest growth in absolute numbers over the next decade is going to be in occupations that don't require large amounts of skill. Across the economy, the Labor Department estimates that the total number of such jobs will increase by almost eight million this decade.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Meanwhile, the supply of American workers who would be satisfied with such work continues to shrink because of an aging workforce that is getting more educated. By the end of this decade, the average age of American workers will be over 40 years old. Meanwhile, younger and older workers alike are now more educated, as the share of adult native-born men without a high school diploma has declined from over 50 percent in 1960 to below 10 percent and falling today. Immigrants provide a ready and willing source of labor to fill that growing gap on the lower rungs of the labor ladder.
Immigration does lower the wages of high school dropouts, and again, the National Research Council estimated it was one to 2 percent. I think other estimates are too high. But the combined effect of international trade and especially technological change are believed to be even greater.
Barring low-skilled immigrants from the U.S. workforce would not reverse the underlying economic trends arrayed against the least-skilled workers in American society. What those workers need for their long-term success is not less competition from immigrants, but more skills and education. In fact, competition from immigrants actually gives native-born workers an even greater incentive to stay in school and enhance their skills. Such competition actually increases the likelihood that native-born Americans will stay in school rather than drop out because immigration increases the wage premium for workers who complete their high school education.
We saw this happen in the early 20th century. Again, we had a wave of low-skilled immigration. What did native workers do? They went back to school. They stayed in high school. We had the high school movement, dramatic increase in Americans with high school degrees.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our current dysfunctional immigration system is colliding with labor market reality and reality is winning. Since 1986, we've had a huge effort to crack down on illegal immigration with the result that more than five million undocumented workers live in a legal twilight zone. Many of them are unable to bargain effectively with employers for full market wages and benefits, relegating them to secondary markets where they're more likely to be paid in cash or have to work through subcontractors. The result is sub-market wages and sub-market working conditions for undocumented workers and for legal workers, legal immigrants alike who compete with them. As a result, employer sanctions and other enforcement efforts have acted as a kind of tax on low-skilled workers in the United States, whether immigrant or native.
In conclusion, Members of the Subcommittee and Congress have three basic options before them. We can muddle through with the status quo, leaving millions of currently illegal and mostly low-skilled immigrants in the legal shadows, unable to realize the full benefits of their labor market participation. Or we can redouble the failed policies of the past and crack down once again on illegal immigration, building more fences, assigning thousands more agents to patrol the border, and raiding more workplaces. Or we can recognize reality by fixing America's flawed immigration system so that it conforms with the realities of a free society and a free and efficient economy.
A legalized system of migration would, in one stroke, bring a huge underground market into the open. It would allow American producers in important sectors of our economy to hire the legal workers they need to grow. And it would raise wages and working conditions for millions of low-skilled workers and spur investment in human capital.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Griswold.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Griswold follows:]
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The floor is now voting. We have a singlehave a series of two votes. So the Subcommittee will recess and reconvene shortly thereafter.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Subcommittee will come to order, reconvene. We will now go to questions for 5 minutes from members of the panel.
Dr. Camarota, is it true that American workers are willing to move across State and across country to leave areas where an excess of immigrant labor has led to a deterioration in employment opportunities? And secondly, to follow up on that, have we, for example, seen an exodus of native workers from California and elsewhere into the country?
Mr. CAMAROTA. There certainly is research suggesting that that is going on, particularly among people at the bottom end of the labor market. There is a net out-migration of native workers from States like New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, very heavy immigration States. In Florida, for example, what you see is a lot of movement of workers from Southern Florida to Central and Northern Florida, where there is less immigrant competition.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So yes, there does seem to be a movement of natives out. What that means is that the effects of immigration are generally transmitted pretty quickly throughout the country, given the nature of our national economy. So if you are looking for labor market impacts, you can't look at just the cities where there's a lot of immigrants and where there's few immigrants. You would have to try to measure it across the nation.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Because ultimately, in a place where there's saturation of the labor market, individuals move out of that area where saturations take place to find opportunities elsewhere.
Mr. CAMAROTA. Right, and the effects are moved out. Also, because of the trade of goods and services. So if you've got someone who's working in manufacturing in Los Angeles, he's in competition, obviously, with someone working in manufacturing in Pittsburgh, even thoughyou know, that's another way. And the movement of capital, also, in pursuit of labor, also should transmit the effects of immigration throughout the country pretty quickly.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. And with regard to your example of Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, you have a situation in Los Angeles, high immigration levels, Pittsburgh, lower, significantly lower immigration levels, and so there is wage competition, as well, as a result of that, where wages may be impacted in Pittsburgh even though Pittsburgh is a relatively much lower immigration location.
Mr. CAMAROTA. That's right. The effects should be transferred through the integrated nature of our national economy, and that's what the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its research.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Very good. Professor Briggs, you mention a number of reasons why American labor unions have abandoned their longstanding policy of opposition to mass immigration. One part of your testimony, you might have touched on this, but could a reason be that the unions view immigrants as their most promising source of new membership?
Mr. BRIGGS. Well, again, I would say it's the leadership that's actually changed the position of the AFL-CIO. I'm not sure that many of the members actually agree with it, but their views, I think, are not taken into account quite often by the leadership on these issues. This has become a politically driven issue in which the unions, right at the end of my testimony, I was trying to say are becoming more interested with other groups that are coalition groups and coalition politics to support a broader agenda of issues when the outcome seems predetermined. That is, politicians don't seem to want to address immigration.
So why fight for immigration issues? Join the coalition and write off, unfortunately, a large number of workers who don't belong to unions who all the literature shows are adversely affected by immigration, write off their interests. I think it is like taking a shortcut through quicksand. It's a disastrous policy for the labor movement.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you for making the distinction between rank-and-file union members and leadership. As the son of a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, I can tell you that that was often the case in our household.
Let me ask you a question with regard to labor in general. There are many who have suggested that this influx of labor from immigration, especially illegal immigration, is because that there are certain jobs that Americans will not do. Now, with respect to the jobs themselves as opposed to the wages, are there jobs that Americans will not do?
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BRIGGS. Well, this isin economics, there cannot be jobs that people do not do. It depends on what the wage rate is.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Right.
Mr. BRIGGS. And there's a wage rate where people will do almost anything. And consequently, it's simply not true that people won't do these types of jobs. I mean, it's hard to know what occupation we're even talking about unless you're talking about low wages or suppressed working conditions.
We all talk about the rural workers, for example. The problem with the rural labor market is you have simply taken rural workers out of competition with the non-agricultural sector. I mean, the first thing I would do if I was concerned about a shortage of workers in the agricultural sector is give National Labor Relations Act unions protection to workers in the farm, in agriculture. They're exempt from the National Labor Relations Act. And then we'll find out whether or not people don't want to do agriculture work.
You make it so these jobs are truly inferior jobs and then the market will simply take people away from them if they have an alternative source of labor to do that kind of work. And unfortunately, immigration makes it a self-fulfilling prophesy that people will not do these jobs at wage rates and working conditions that are not competitive with the rest of the economy. That doesn't mean these jobs are useless. They're important types of jobs and they should have rising wages associated with them.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Professor Briggs.
At this point, the chair recognizes the gentleman from
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I am yielding to the gentleman.
Mr. HOSTETTLER.the gentleman from Detroit
Ms. JACKSON LEE.from Detroit, the distinguished Ranking Member.
Mr. HOSTETTLER.for 5 minutes.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you both for your courtesy. This is quite a committee of witnesses we have here. Of course, Mr. Griswold is from Cato. Cato is derived from the Libertarians. Libertarians support less Government, so the fewer rules about anything and regulations the better for you. I must say, you've been pretty consistent here today.
Mr. GRISWOLD. You're welcome.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Anderson, I don't know why you should feel in any way diminished amongst these learned people about the subject matter that brings us here. The one thing you've got that they haven't is you've got a radio program and I'll bet you we're going to hear a lot about this programabout this hearing on your program.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ANDERSON. I guarantee it.
Mr. CONYERS. I knew you were going to. Turn on your mike. I didn't have any doubt that you weren't going to do that. And by the way, you sound a little bit like the angry callers that you get.
Mr. ANDERSON. I was once one.
Mr. CONYERS. You're not angry anymore?
Mr. ANDERSON. Yes, I'm angry.
Mr. CONYERS. Okay.
Mr. ANDERSON. Absolutely.
Mr. CONYERS. All right. Now, Professor Briggs, you've got to be the first labor professor that I have ever heard utter the words that the labor movement has done more harm to workers than anything else, anybody else.
Mr. BRIGGS. I don't think I said that.
Mr. CONYERS. What did you say?
Mr. BRIGGS. I said the change in position, the political position, is harming people that have traditionally looked for the labor movement for protection. The labor movement has always been the greatest protector of all workers in the past. Now, they have taken a position that has changedfor their own special interest that is harmful for the interest of the working people in this country by pushing for repeal of employer sanctions. That can't possibly be in the interest of American workers. Pushing for a guest worker program can't possibly be in their interest. Drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants can't possibly be.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
None of these things are in the interest of American workers. In the past, AFL-CIO, or whatever organizations preceded them, always defended the interests of all working people, whether or not they were in unions or not, and that was the great thing the American labor movement did. But I've never said AFL-CIO was against the interest of American workers except when it comes to this issue of immigration, where suddenly 150 years of wisdom is thrown out by a new group. It doesn't make any sense.
Mr. CONYERS. Okay. Well, I sorely miss the presence of a voice of labor here at this table because the labor movement has a huge role to play in this. As close as you get to the labor movement in your professional life, that's not quite the same thing. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that any spokesperson for the labor movement would probably not agree with you entirely and maybe not at all. So this creates a rather considerable void in our discussion here and we have to consider the fact that has not been mentioned that the laws around immigration, the rules and regulations are not being enforced.
Mr. BRIGGS. Exactly.
Mr. CONYERS. Well, you agree with me. Of course, you've only had 5 minutes, so that's not a great help to you because your side isn'tyou can't tell all about this subject matter in just the few minutes that you're allowed to summarize your paper.
But I see one of the really important considerations in this tremendous complex subject about immigration, immigration workers, immigration policy, and how it affects American workers as one that we really need to study more, and I hope that the Chairman and the Ranking Member will join with me in persuading the Chairman of the Committee, Jim Sensenbrenner, that there ought to be further examinations in this field. This is a good beginning, but we're not going to get very far.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I'm going to be introducing a number of studies into the record that will not be available to people that have just tuned in on this hearing. I'd like to make them available to all of the witnesses and I would appreciate any feedback that you might have in that regard.
Are there any comments you would like to leave with me before I take my leave? Yes, sir, Mr. Griswold?
Mr. GRISWOLD. I just want to address a factual matter.
Mr. CONYERS. All right.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Several of the witnesses have mentioned the National Research Council study, and for good reason. I think it's the best thing that's been done on immigration. Nobody can question the motives of the people who undertook the study. The study found that the vast majority of American workers benefit from immigration. They foundlet me just read a very brief statement. It said the one group that appears to suffer significant negative effects from immigrants are earlier waves of immigrants, according to many studies.
So if the labor movement has come around, and I'm glad they have in the last decade, that immigration is generally good, they are not in any way betraying the interests of the vast majority of American workers. Immigration is in the interests of the large majority of American workers. Thank you.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRIGGS. Could I say something there?
Mr. CONYERS. Yes, Professor.
Mr. BRIGGS. That's the half-loaf. If he goes on two or three pages on, they talk about the costs of immigration and the costs in the NCR study, which I agree is the best study ever done, exceeded the benefits. What that study said, was that the benefit is $1 to $10 billion. In an $8 trillion economy, that's not much benefit. On the other hand, the costs were $14 to $20 billion. That's not much, either, in a great big economy. But the bottom line is of that report, the message is that the costs exceeded the benefits.
And for every person in California, they said every native-born person in California, there's a $1,200 tax to support the immigrants, the foreign-born in the State of California above and beyond the taxes that the people in California pay. A balanced presentation would tell you that.
Well, he did exactly what the New York Times did. The New York Times did that, too. That's why they talk about the pro-immigrant lobby. They held up that one. Here are the benefits of immigration. But, two paragraphs later, the NRC say here are the costs, the fiscal, and social and economic costs of immigration and they exceeded the benefits. That is the NRC findings.
And Barbara Jordan, as I quoted here in my testimony, is unequivocal when she says the Commission sees no justification for the continued entry of unskilled foreign workers, period. How much clearer can it be? That was the day that they issued the report. I will read it again. There is no justification for the continued entry of unskilled foreign workers, period, and that was getting them out of the legal immigration system. And she also said getting them out of the illegal immigration system. She was pushing for enforcement, pushing for enforcement, and that's what we desperately need. If we actually get the enforcement of our immigration laws, we wouldn't need to really be talking about a lot of other of these things.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. CONYERS. Chairman, I thank you so much.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman.
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Flake, for 5 minutes.
Mr. FLAKE. I thank the Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing, and the witnesses, it has been very informative.
Mr. Griswold, do you want to respond? Is that a fair characterization of the NRC summary?
Mr. GRISWOLD. I don't believe it is. First, the Commission is something distinct from the National Research Council and what my colleague, Mr. Briggs, was summarizing was the Commission. The National Research Council, and by the way, the authors of that study have testified before Congress and have documented what I'm about to say, the conclusion was that immigration delivers, quote, ''a significant positive gain,'' unquote, to the U.S. economy. It wouldn't be professionally ethical for them to say it delivers a positive gain, and oh, by the way, the costs exceed the gain. No, they're talking at a net benefit to natives.
Now, I agree, it is not a big number in a $10 trillion economy or $7.6 trillion when they did the study. But it is positive and I believe we get other benefits from immigration. But no, I think it mischaracterizes the National Research Council study to say that it concluded that immigration is a cost to the U.S. economy. They concluded it was a significant positive gain.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. FLAKE. Thank you. Mr. Briggs, you mentioned in your testimony who we should and shouldn'twell, actually, you just mentioned who we shouldn't listen to in this debate and you listed business groups, religious groups, ethnic groups, and several others I couldn't write quickly enough.
Mr. BRIGGS. Yes.
Mr. FLAKE. Who, if not business groups and others, should we talk about employment?
Mr. BRIGGS. That is what the Hesburgh Commission, which was the first commission, when they looked at this, this was their conclusion that we should discuss immigration policy on the merits and the research that we can find about it without listening to the people who have a special dog in that fight, which all these people do, a particular dog. They want a particular outcome and consequently they see particular benefits.
The Hesburgh Commission said we have to look at what the studies, what the research says and try to impartially make a discussion of what the immigration policy should be, and that's what I think they did. Barbara Jordan, and her Commission did the same thing. The Jordan Commission said the level of immigration was too high. It should be reduced. When it read the report NRC did for the Jordan Commission, they said immigration should be reduced and they said there should be no unskilled immigration and
Mr. FLAKE. I guess I misunderstood what you are saying. I guess I took what you were saying as we shouldn't listen to these groups
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BRIGGS. No, no. They have input, but you look at what is the research on these issues and there's been a lot of history now, and the NRC study is an excellent study, I agree. But it does say that the costs have exceeded the benefits.
Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Camarota, you mentioned that there are plenty of workers here to satisfy the labor supply. Is thatI believe you were speaking in the aggregate. Is that true also in pockets across the country? Are you saying that there are jobs for everyone, everywhere, employers are offering them?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Well, obviously the economy is flexible, so people can move in or move out of an area in response to labor. We know that there's over 100 million people, I believe, in the census who live and work in the State they weren't born. Movement is very common. So that's one thing.
If wages are allowed to rise in an area, you generally attract more workers. So that would be one mechanism.
The other way in which you could fill labor market needs is through increased productivity. Just to give you an example in agriculture, I know something you have a lot of interest in, in Australia, they have a very competitive agricultural system without importing a lot of unskilled labor, but they use the machines for the harvesting and so forth. And the beauty of that is, the workers, the modest number of workers that are employed tend to make more money, are employed year-round, and you avoid the fiscal costs of bringing in unskilled workers.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. FLAKE. And some sectors of agriculture obviously lend itself to that and some do not. In Yuma, Arizona, for example, 80 percent of the nation's lettuce, I think, is produced there in the winter months. In parts of it, there's no way to do mechanized labor. Is it your contention that they can find sufficient labor without some type of worker program to satisfy their labor demands?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Here is what would likely happen if there was less illegal alien labor. You would move more to the machines that harvest lettuce. They do that a lot in Europe and they go to more bag lettuce than head lettuce, modest changes in the way stuff is produced. But in the long run, it would probably be better for the U.S. economy, better for U.S. workers, and better for the taxpayers, because I, for one, think wages should probably be much higher for people at the bottom end. But that's a value judgment, I recognize it.
Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Anderson and then Mr. Griswold, in the short time that is quickly expiring. Mr. Anderson, where do we go from here? Where should we go from here? Mr. Griswold listed kind of three options. Do you think that those are basically saying that we muddle through as we are now with kind of spotty enforcement here and there and not having any legal framework for people to come here, or redouble our efforts on the border itself, or recognize reality and do something else? What do you advocate?
Mr. ANDERSON. I like that word reality. It means different things to different people, but reality to most politicians is tax dollars and what they think is right for the people. The reality of the people is usually something else, and if you people would listen to people on maybe a little more local level, you would hear the anger in people's voice.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Conyers asked me, was I angry, and I am angry. I'm angry because I've seen what's happening to my city, to my State. My solution, the answer to your question and Ms. Jackson Lee when she talked about solutions, is this. We are a nation of laws. They say we're a nation of immigrants. Well, we were once a nation of slavers. My great-grandfather was a slave. We were a nation of whalers. Those are two things we don't do anymore because they are unproductive for the country, okay.
But when those slaves were there, the Southerners said, well, we can't make it without slaves. We'll never make it. We'll never be able to harvest our crops without these slaves. Well, guess what. They did. And like today, we've gotten rid of slavery, we've gotten rid of whaling.
I'm not saying to get rid of immigration. I am very pro-immigration within reasonable numbers, traditional numbers. But illegal immigration is a slap in the face to every American citizenevery American citizen. It is also a slap in the face to every legal immigrant who has come here and those who are standing in line in some foreign country waiting to come.
I know hundreds of people personally that have e-mailed me from Mexico and told me that they are waiting for their visas and they can't get one because they're way down on the lottery there. But they haven't come here illegally and I respect them. But for us to give amnesty to these people, for us to give a 245(i) to these people, for us to just turn around and make it legal because the reality is that they're here, that's a slap in the face to the American and to the immigrant that has come here legally.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I say this. We must stop letting these laws go like we are. We have to enforce these laws. We must enforce the laws of this country. If you are here illegally, I'm not saying we're going to pack all 15 million of them up in 1 day. No. But we must stop giving them services. We must start cracking down on these employers that hire them. We must start cracking down on people when they go for welfare. We must stop giving them drivers' licenses. And more than anything else, we must make them understand that they are not welcome here until they come here legally.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman.
The chair now recognizes the gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much. And to the witnesses, we have moved into the high-tech world, and so when I was out of the room, I was able towith a meeting that was occurringI was able to hear your testimony, so I thank you very much again for providing us with your insight and I thank the Chairman for his indulgence as I just offer a few comments and then pose some questions that I think will be very helpful.
Mr. Anderson, you had it right that we are looking for solutions. We wouldn't have the witnesses here today if I believed this Committee was not serious. But, in fact, we recognized that we were overdue in some of this work.
Having sat on this Committee for a number of years, I have been in such hearings previously, and frankly was engagedI think I even brought one of the witnesses, happened to be an African American male engineer. This was during the height of the high-tech boom when I raised the question regarding balancing H1Bs and our industry. When I say the industry, the high-tech industry, Silicon Valley and other placesI don't want to highlight just thatcould utilize bright American talent. Balance that issue with my good friends from India and other places who are, in fact, my good friends and who sought to come to this country.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I will again put on the record that that legislation that we worked in a bipartisan way to carve out a big piece dealing with American workers was hijacked on the floor of the House in the midnight hours, and interestingly enough, a number of us, I think, were going to a funeral and we got word on the airplane this bill had come up in the midnight hour and replaced your billwhen I say your, our bill where we responded to that issue, and replaced it with no restraints. Of course, the economy has changed, and I have always tried to mind my manners and not say, ''I told you so.''
But these are issues that I think are not in conflict with some of the concerns that I've raised about solutions, and let me just raise one other point before I begin to pose questions.
We were on the pathway to be a problem solver pre- the tragedy of 9/11 when President Bush and President Vincente Fox were recognizing sort of the complexity of where we found ourselves, and certainly some of the witnesses may not agree, but they were on the road to a solution, or let's sit down and find out how we balance what many have called this influx, this flow, this movement.
And tragically, we mixed apples and oranges, or maybe apples and onions because the tragedy of 9/11 is a question of a broken system that parallels this whole question of access and legalization. Visas, the inability to, at that time, have a list, the lack of intelligence communications between the FBI and CIA, that all was involved in the enormous tragedy, which is still a broken system, dealing with 9/11.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But it did not answer the question that was on the road to some sort of deliberations of some of the issues that you all have raised in ways that I would agree and disagree. Some of it, I vigorously disagree with, respect your right to say it. But that has never been picked up and that's where our problem is.
We have not confronted this issue head on. We are still mixing apples and onions about terrorism versus getting a hold of the crisis that many of us believe, and we see it in different ways, but that is occurring. And I will say this. Immigration does not equate to terrorism. It may mean many things.
Now, Mr. Griswold, let me say to you that I am glad you are here. Let me be very frank that we worked very hard to get a representative from the labor community, and the reason we looked to do that was not discounting of the work that you've done, and you've been very honest about it. It was because of the fact that they are now seeing these very people in real life.
They see them every day, and, of course, unions have been associated over the years, and you've just made a comment, you're glad that they have seen it in a new light now, but they've been associated with adverse responses to those who have come in the recent years dealing with working in the community and possibly taking jobs. But they have opened up, and I wouldn't call it a Johnny-come-lately, I would call it a reckoning and a visionary approach to workers. So I am glad that you're here, because the only way we're going to solve this is if we have people of different perspectives working together.
We disagree on some issues dealing with minimum wage, and that's not this hearing today, but I would vigorously argue against you on some of those issues. But on these issues, you bring a sense of reality, and if I might, then, let me poselet me allow you to clean up what we have heard, the passion that we have heard.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
First, I want you to go straight at this question of the National Research Council only did two paragraphs on benefits and the rest of it was it costs a lot. So you are going to hit right away, and I am going to give you these three questions, this point about it costs more than the benefits are. And now we'rethis is a 1997 study. This is 2003.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Yes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And we've got to deal with this question because we do have Americans on the run and we're not going to solve it with the anger that's out there that Brother Anderson, if I might, captures. We may politically disagree, but he captures it and he's given some eloquent points, and our professor and Mr. Camarota.
The other thing that you need to capture is doingallowingkeeping folk in the shadow, under cover, under the radar screen. Where does that take us? I have legislation that fully looks at this question of earned access to legalization. That means no criminal background, get on the list, go through the process over the period of time, and I do that in the backdrop, as I said earlier, of folk that are dying in Iraq who are not citizens who have gone forward, and this is my last question for you.
But let me not make this as a question. You comment on the failure that we have now in this country of not moving forward in reform, and this is a sentence that, since I have not probed you, I don't want to characterize this, but Mr. Chairman, let me just be very frank.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Racism exists in this country, and much of what we are talking about has some ramifications of racism and we've got to break that shackle. That means that somebody who speaks Spanish, you don't want them there. Somebody who does not speak Spanish, you don't want them there. Black people are still facing racist attitudes about employment promotion, the opportunity for job expansion. That may be another hearing for the Constitution Subcommittee.
But mixed into who's being rejected for jobs and seeing many of us being rejected, whether it be a white American who may face the same thing, because there's reverse discrimination in some instances. That still plays a part, where we use the excuse that it's the immigrant that needs the job and we're sending you away. Well, why can't we give you a higher job or why can't we find training, which is what my H1B bill was about, to train those individuals and give them the next step up, and then, as I said, it's not a place to discuss this.
We've lost manufacturing jobs. I've got a whole town in Detroit, as my good friend the Ranking Member came from, where people built their lives on working for Ford and GM, African Americans. So we have a problem that overlaps this Committee.
Let me yield to you, if you made notes on those three points. Clean it up for me, if you would, because the gentleman to yourwhich is it, right, left
Mr. GRISWOLD. My left.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. They are not to your left, but they are sitting to your left, have made some strong points. Would you clean it up, please.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GRISWOLD. Ms. Jackson Lee, thank you very much. First, the National Research Council report, I guess I just urge you to read it. I've read it. I think it's largely, overwhelmingly positive from beginning to end. I've quoted directly from it. I just ask you to take a look at it and see who's closer to characterizing the National Research Council report.
Secondly, you mentioned security. Not a single one of the September 11 hijackers came here as immigrants. They came in the way approximately 30 million people do every year, as temporary visitors, most of them on tourist visas or student visas. They didn't apply to the INS for permanent residency. They were not immigrants in any sense of the word, and I think that is a security issue.
When you have eight million people living in illegal twilight zone, they're afraid to approach authorities because they may get deported and there's movement in Congress to make local law enforcement officials agents of the INS and these eight million people will be even less likely to cooperate with them.
You have a swamp of smuggling and document fraud that facilitates illegal immigration. If we were to legalize that flow, the vast majority of workers apprehended at the border have no criminal records. If they could come in legally, we could concentrate on the small percentage who have criminal records or do intend to do us harm.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me just, because I know you lost the train of thought. Let me just, so you can point directly to it, are we missing the boat by not engaging in reform that involves earned access to legalization
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GRISWOLD. Yes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. and then what is the impact of the failure to reform our immigration policy.
Mr. GRISWOLD. I believe we are missing the boat for those reasons. Also, we're wasting resources. We're going after peaceful, hard-working immigrants who come here intending to work. We should be putting those resourcesinstead of busting 300 janitors who work for Wal-Mart, those Homeland Security Department resources should be going toward apprehending criminals.
And yes, what do we do about it. I believe it is an unacceptable, unrealistic option to try to round up eight million people, take them away from, in many cases, their families, their communities, their jobs, and deport them. That's just not a realistic option. I don't think it's a realistic option to muddle through the way we have. We have to find some way of legalizing these people.
This isn't an amnesty, where we say if you've been here a certain time, here's your green card. They get temporary visas. They have to earn it. They can pay a fine. They can get in line for permanent residency along with everybody else.
So I think the only realistic option is some way of a path to legalization, not permanent residency necessarily, for those who are here and to legalize the flow of people coming in so we can focus our resources on going after those few people who come here intending to do us harm.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the Chairman for his gracious indulgence and the Committee. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Griswold.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The gentlelady's time has expired.
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for holding these hearings and I'd like to thank all the witnesses for your testimony.
I look at some of this on a little broader scale, and when we talk about immigration, I'd point out that this country has an obligation to shape an immigration policy that's designed to enhance the economic, the social, and the cultural well-being of the United States of America. We have no obligation to any other country with regard to our immigration policy.
And so I think we've missed a lot of opportunities to recruit some people around the globe that would have dramatically enhanced our economy because we've got such a line-up that's taking place in the low-skilled sectors that are there.
But first, I want to reference the cultural part of this, and that's not been brought up here. We've talked strictly about economics. But if we can't hold our culture together, we can't hold our economics together, either. And there is a huge, multi-million dollar, multi-cultural industry there, particularly within our universities and across our entire educational systemit's within our media and within Hollywood, alsothat drives this idea that rejects the concept of assimilation, which is an essential, an essential component to the unity of this civilization that we are privileged to be members of.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I point that out, first, and the second thing in the broad equation is the high-tech versus low-tech. Now, we're losing jobs to Mexico and Mexico is losing jobs to China, and those low-skill jobs are drifting away from us for some legitimate economic reasons. One is that as the technology is developed in the developing countries, they will compete with us and we will lose those jobs because we can't compete with those wages. Our response is, we need to come back with higher technology to offset that.
There is an aspect to the high-tech side where the future growth in our economy in this country is and we need more people that are high-skilled, highly educated, more research and development, more higher education to drive that sector of the economy. We're going to lose those people on the lower side of ouron the low-tech side, but we should slow the loss of those jobs.
Now, the equation is upside down here. We've got almost an open borders policy that brings in hundreds of thousands and, in fact, millions of unskilled or low-skilled people, some of themin fact, many of themilliterate in their own language and we're packing the low-skill side of our economy at the very time when we ought to be transferringI mean, if we had the same kind of selfish approach to this that Mexico has, we'd be trying to push our low-skilled people down there where there are jobs. I mean, that's the blunt reality of it.
So as Mr. Camarota made those remarksI'll pose a question after I put one more thing out here, and that is, oddly enough, the New York Times did get it right last Sunday. There was an article in there about particularly Californians who are migrating to Baha and purchasing land down there and developing beachfront property because they can buy it cheaper there, they get away from our high taxation, they get away from our high regulation, and they get away, by the way, from the burden of subsidizing the immigration that's flooding the region of California that they are moving from. Turnabout somehow seems to be kind of fair play.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So with regard to that equation that Mr. Camarota laid out, I pose a question then to Mr. Griswold. With that broad equation of supply and demand on labor, how do you answer that? If you have more unskilled labor, doesn't that drive down wages, and how in the world can that then on the broad equation help us on the high-tech side? I know what your answer was. It pushes people to excel more. But somehow, that doesn't seem adequate.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Well, first, in perspective, we do have a declining pool of Americans willing to take those jobs. We're getting older. We're getting better educated. It's just a demographic fact. At a time when demand for those jobsbecause of our aging population, there's more demand for services and health care and hospitality and that sort of thing, we continue to create opportunities for these sorts of workers. So there is a mismatch between supply and demand.
I do think that there is very strong evidence that when the premium for getting your high school degree goes up, just simple economics, more people, that will be more valuable and more people will get their high school degree.
You know, I mentioned the experience 100 years ago. We've been through this before. In fact, the rate of immigration 100 years ago was double what it is today and most of those were low-skilled immigrants. It's just that they were from Europe and not from Latin America. What happened then? We had what's called the high school movement. Americans in large numbers stayed in school, increased their skills. Again, the answer is not to build walls to keep hard-working low-skilled immigrants out of the country.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KING. I call that the Sputnik reaction. When Sputnik went up into outer space, we accelerated our higher learning in response to a threat from without.
Thank you, Mr. Griswold, and I would pose this question to Mr. Anderson, then. There has been some discussion here about amnesty and discussion about a guest worker program. Do you believe that there's any way to characterize a guest worker program that would not be an amnesty program, and how would that settle with your listeners?
Mr. ANDERSON. I'm against a guest worker program personally, and so are my listeners. But let me say this. If you're going to do it, and I can't stop you, obviously, but if you're going to do it, to take people that are in this country illegally and make them guest workers is a slap in the face to every person waiting outside this country and to Americans. No person in this country illegally should ever be made legal. Now, that's a fact.
And I'm missing something here. Everybody's talking about breaking up families and deporting these people. These people are in the country illegally. Why am I missing that fact? Am I not seeing it? Is there a reason why these people should be able to come here illegally?
I have called the LAPD, I have called the L.A. Sheriff's Department, and I'm going to ask this body of people here, tell me which laws I can break in this country so I can make a list of them and break them from now on. These people are coming here and breaking our laws.
He calls them hard-working people. They are illegal aliens. They're not supposed to be here. They're not supposed to cross that border, and when they do, they become criminals and we should treat them as such, not in a violent fashion, but we should take these people and remove them from our country. We are never going to get anything done until we treat this as what it is and that's breaking our laws.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And may I say something about jobs. My brother, Michael Anderson, he's older than I am. He's a finish carpenter. This guy works in nothing but hardwoods. He is so good, a piece of furniture that he made is in Buckingham Palace right now, okay. He made this a few years ago. He is an expert carpenter, but he cannot find work right now. His skill level has nothing to do with the fact that these people are coming here and displacing him now. He's been at this trade for 30 years and there's so many of them here now that he cannot find work. He's a great carpenter, but there's great carpenters coming here working for less money.
These people are coming here illegally. I'm not talking about legal immigration. I'm talking from a California perspective. These people are coming here illegally, and some of the constituencies in California now are so lopsided, so illegal, as in Mr. Berman's section. These areas are becoming so illegally infested that now the pandering starts. Now, how can we make these people happy? Let's give them a guest worker program. Let's give them amnesty. Let's give them in-State tuition. Let's give them a driver's license. Let's waive the fees for college. Let's do all of this for them, and then let's give them welfare. Let's give them WIC. Let's give them food stamps.
When does it end? They are in the country illegally, and until people realize that, we're not going to fix this.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.
Might I indulge for one more question, please?
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
Mr. KING. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I pose this question then to Mr. Briggs, and that is that in your testimony with regard to the AFL-CIO and the position change that's taken place, I don't recall you mentioning, and I may have missed that, about the Freedom Ride that was funded and promoted by AFL-CIO to go around the country and promote fast-track citizenship for illegal aliens. If you plug that into the equation and you laid out all the reasons why those things werethe positions that have been taken most recently are not good for the organized labor, how do you propose that will be explained to those people, then, to the organized labor as this comes to light?
Mr. BRIGGS. I think you have a hard job as a leader of a union trying to sell the idea that increasingthe supply of workers in your particular occupation or industry is good for thoseespecially their entering illegallyis good for those workers. Amnesties, guest worker programs, all the rest of these things are simply not in the best interest of American workers. I think you have a real tough sell.
I thought the idea of a Freedom Ride, hijacking the language of the Civil Rights movement, was outrageous, and I was in the Civil Rights movement back in the 1960's. That's not what it was all about. That's not what it was all about at all. I was here in Washington at the Monument and the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. King said it's the content of people's character, not the color of their skin that's what's important. And hijacking that langauge when people I knew personallyI was not in those Freedom Rides, but I know people who wereendangered their lives. In fact, I think one of our students at Cornell was killed down there in Mississippi in some of that stuff. I'm not sure about that, but one of them was. I wasn't teaching there at the time.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But to take the language of the Civil Rights movement and hijack it and have illegal immigrants who come to the United States demanding their rights to be legalized, to have a guest worker was absurd. It'shonestly, to me, it's like an Alice in Wonderland world. I mean, I sit here as a lifelong Democrat of 45 years, impeccable liberal credentials. I'm a member of aassociate member of the United Teachers Association of New York (AFL-CIO).
And to sit here and hear the Cato Institute and the Democrats cozying all up to their views, this is absurd. It's absolutely absurd. The Cato Institute is opposed to every single thing the Democratic party stands for in my entire life. I mean, I've spoken at the Cato Institute. And I have to sit here and listen to the Democrats pandering to the Cato Institute about how wonderful workers are, immigration, this is nonsense, and the same thing with the Civil Rights movement.
To hear the labor movement going down here and illegal immigrants demanding their rights. These people weren't endangered. Nobody was going to kill them. Those Freedom Riders, they put their life in their hands when they went out. Those are really courageous people.
These people coming up here knocking on your door are just as is being said here. They're asking for handouts. They're asking us to give them a right to stay here. We broke your laws. You're supposed to give us all these type of entitlements, all these type of privileges, legalize our stay just because we say so. This was no Civil Rights movement, but they hijacked its language. If I was a Civil Rights movement leader today, I'd be outraged at the language of the AFL-CIO on that Freedom March, as I was.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. KING. Thank you, Mr. Briggs. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman.
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Berman, for 5 minutes for questioning.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's an interesting hearing on a very important issue.
I find that Professor Briggs has touched on an interesting aspect of all this, the sort of the alliances that develop based on perspectives and the way things change. I find myself agreeing with a lot of the substantive provisions ofwell, particularly of what two of you have said, Mr. Camarota and Professor Briggs. Mr. Anderson, I take some issue with, which I'll get to in a moment. And at the same time, I find myself agreeing with the conclusions of Mr. Griswold, even though I don't get there the same way that he does.
And perhaps I'll start with Mr. Griswold. In a Libertarian world, Mr. Anderson, in a Larry Elder world, labor is like one of the issues in free trade, back and forth and you go where they're needed and people search out the best price and it's a marketplace. Now, Karl Marx was wrong on a lot of his analysis and his emphasis on materialism in a whole bunch of ways, but he did make one point about the reserve army of unemployed bidding down wages. I'm not a Congressman from an international elected constituency. I'm a U.S. Representative. I don't think we can talk about there being no relationship between flows of immigration and wages and worker conditions in this country.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Moreover, on the issue of productivity, I can think of cases in agriculture where, because growers were able to get, in a sense, almost unrestricted flows of labor, one, I mean, the irony was they replaced more recently legalized immigrants with newer illegal immigrants by keeping wages low and, in a sense, pushing people who had made a living out of farm work into finding better paying jobs in other areas, becauseand secondly, avoided the investments in mechanization which increased productivity.
I mean, there was asugar cane in Florida was a fascinating example. We wantedand this raises another question. Does America want to preserve certain kinds of industries without regard to the economics of it? Do we want, for instance, in this country to have a perishable fruit and vegetable industry, or should economics be the final determiner of that without regard to any other consideration?
In the area of sugar cane, we made a decision to keep a sugar cane industry in this country. We created a ridiculous system of price controls which made the price of sugar for American consumers much higher than it otherwise would be. We then brought in workers from the Caribbean under guest worker programs to harvest the sugar cane in Florida and maintained that program for many years after in other areas the difficulties with that guest worker program caused the sugar cane operators there to mechanize, to find ways of harvesting sugar cane through machines. But because the labor was cheap and subsidized in Florida, they maintained the traditional way of doing it.
Finally, they got tired of dealing with the aspects of the guest worker program and the whole question of whether they were meeting the requirements under the law and all that stuff and they abandoned the guest worker program, too.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I am saying there are aspects of this which do, and I thinkI don't remember, was it Mr. Camarota when I came in who was speaking to this issuethere are aspects of this that do stop employers from making investments that can enhance productivity and there are aspects of this that do keep wage costs depressingly low.
But what I find about Professor Briggs and Camarota is that you're talking in a world that doesn't exist. Our options aren't kick all the illegal immigrants out, stop any more illegal immigrants from coming in, and by the way, illegal immigration is wrong. We should be doing everything we can do to stop it. We have invested incredible sums in trying to do that, new technologies, huge, huge expenditures, much more than on food stamps for illegal immigrants, Mr. Anderson, on efforts to stop illegal immigration. It obviously hasn't worked in any serious way.
But the situation now is you have eight or ten million people in this country who can be called illegal immigrants, if that's what you want to call them
Mr. ANDERSON. That's what they are.
Mr. BERMAN. They're also human beings.
Mr. ANDERSON. Illegal first, though.
Mr. BERMAN. Human first. And they're doing work in some very important industries and you have the present situation and then you have to decideI think we all share that this present situation is intolerable. The law is being flouted. People are being exploited. The fundamental rights one would accord even from a conservative point of view to any worker in our society aren't given to these workers because they're so fearful of their illegal status and where do we go from here.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And what I don't hear from you folks who so rail against amnesties and rail against earned legalization programs and rail against guest worker programs, and on the guest worker programs, I share your concern because the notion of tying a worker to a particular employer is, in and of itself, an exploitative situation where the only way he gets this opportunity is with that onehe can't shop. He's stuck with the guy that hired him in a way that I don't like.
What I don't hear is a practical, human, security-enhancingand I mean in the context of millions of people here whose identities are unknown to us who are living on forged documentsand practical way of dealing with it in the context of a decision by the United States that we still want a perishable fruit and vegetable industry in this country.
I'm only going way over my red light because everybody up until me has gone way over their red light [Laughter.]
but, Mr. Anderson, I notice, like you notice, that there are fewer African Americans employed in certain jobs than there used to be and they're replaced by many people of Latino descent. But I also know that there was once the workthe janitor's work in this country was done hugely by Irish immigrants, and in fact, the leadership of the Service Employees International Union was heavily Irish for many years because of that Irish participation. And it changed and became much more African American. Then it became much more, at least in my part of the world, Hispanic.
That didn't mean these people all went to unemployment, because at the L.A. airport, what I also see are African Americans with a lot better jobs where I didn't see any African Americans before. In other words, there is upward mobility in this society. Not everyone who used to be a janitor was pushed out by illegal immigrants. Some of them got better and higher-paying jobs. And to paint the picture the way you did, I think was unfair and one-sided.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I guess I don't have a question in any of that. It's more just some reactions to some of the things I've heard. But for those people who rail about amnestiesand, by the way, how do you define an amnesty? For me, an amnesty means you did something wrong and you're going to be forgiven and pay no penalty. Many of the proposals that I'm involved with don't involve not paying a penalty. But for all that stuff, I don't ever hear a coherent, meaningful solution coming fromother than the ones that we have tried and not passed.
In 1986, Father Hesburgh, who you like to quote, said, let's do an amnesty. He called it legalization. Let's do a legalization and we'll tie it to employer sanctions and we'll do it one time, once only
Mr. ANDERSON. Right.
Mr. BERMAN.and now it'll be illegal for employers to hire people. But this Congress didn't want to quite do it the way maybe he envisioned it. He didn't come out and say, that's not going to work, don't do it. He went along with it and the result was you had an employer sanction which was rendered fairly meaningless by the use of false identifiers and the limitations on what employers had to do, and you know something? I'm not sure Congress was wrong. I mean, that notion of the great Federal Government making a snap decision about whether a particular person should be here or not and gathering the data for all that, there are prices to pay for investing that much power in a Federal Government. But in any event, that trade-off didn't work and the result was this.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will close now, Mr. Chairman, with one final quote, and that is on this issue of amnesties, which I think are different than these earned adjustment programs that have been referenced to, but we, I think, have a disagreement about that because I think you pay a price when you're required to work for a certain period of time in a particular industry afterwards. That is a penalty.
But in any event, I want to quote from the Federal Reserve Board Bank in Atlanta, not a major source of multi-cultural internationalism designed to undermine the American national interest. They did a study on undocumented immigration flows and they concluded that amnesty programs do not encourage illegal immigration. If anything, IRCA, the 1986 law, reduced the number of illegal immigrants in the short run, perhaps because potential migrants thought it would be more difficult to cross the border and get a job in the United States after the law was passed. An amnesty program also does not appear to encourage illegal immigration in the long run in the hopes of another amnesty program. We do not find a significant difference after the IRCA amnesty program expired and before the program was created. However, IRCA does not appear to have discouraged illegal immigration in the long run.
In other words, the amnesty programs neither encourage nor discourage illegal immigration. The notion of all those jobs in Mexico, that'sif there were all those jobs in Mexico, you wouldn't be getting the flows here. It's about the jobs. It's not about the amnesty. It's about bettering the condition for yourself, for your family, and by the way, in a very self-selecting way, that brings some very industrious people into this country, illegal though they may be.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon.
Mr. CANNON. The Chairman is most gracious. I apologize for not having been here. The votes and other things have kept me in a hearing on a bill that I need to pursue in Resources, so I thank you.
First of all, Mr. Chairman, have we passed a unanimous consent to allow questions in the written form to be sent to the panelists?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair, after the Committee, was going to allow 7 days for the record.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you. I think that I will assure you that I won't go very long here, but apparently the standard is more than the 5 minutes allotted. I will try to keep it under, because I think I can do several of my questions in writing, but there are a couple of questions I would like to ask.
Mr. Briggs, are you on the board of CIS?
Mr. BRIGGS. Yes, I am.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. Thank you. Can either for you, if you're there or Mr. Camarota, can you explain the historic ties between CIS and FAIR, Federation for American Immigration Reform?
Mr. BRIGGS. Well, there are no formal ties. I joined the board in 1987. I do not belong to FAIR. There are some members who are on the board who belong to the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform. Most of the board does not. We do not do work for FAIR. We do not get money from FAIR. It's an independent research think tank of people interested in immigration issues from multiple backgrounds.
Mr. CANNON. Did FAIR help set up CIS in the beginning?
Mr. BRIGGS. I don't
Mr. CAMAROTA. Yes, I think that's right. Seventeen years ago, CIS was a spin-off of FAIR. That would be a reasonable way to put it. For like, I think, 2 months we were held under their tax status.
Mr. BRIGGS. I was not on the board at the time of that.
Mr. CANNON. Okay, thank you. But for 2 months, you were under their tax status?
Mr. CAMAROTA. I mean, obviously, it's long before
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. Sort of like a division of FAIR at the time?
Mr. CAMAROTA. We were a spin-off of them, yes. I think that's the best way I'd put it.
Mr. CANNON. So FAIR set up a study group and after a very short period of time, say 2 months, felt that they had to be independent to be reliable?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Yes. I don't know what the reason was why we became independent.
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Camarota, how long have you been with CIS?
Mr. CAMAROTA. That's a good question. Seven years so far. Seven years.
Mr. CANNON. It is not unfair to say that there are many people who are interested in the same subject matter who are on both boards, is thator who are associated or members of FAIR?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Well, I don't think we share any board members. It's not like we have board members on their board andI don't think so.
Mr. BRIGGS. I think there have been some. I think Otis Graham was on both boards. But the board has 13, 15 members and most of us have no ties at all to FAIR. That doesn't mean we don't share some of their interests, but we're not the
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. CANNON. Would you mind describingare there more members other than Otis Graham who are on both boards and would you describe those interests that some members of your board share with FAIR?
Mr. CAMAROTA. I think they should have to speak for themselves. In general, we think control of illegal immigration is important and a more modest level of legal immigration where we selected people based on skills. You'd have to ask FAIR what they think. Obviously, we don't coordinate our positions with them or anything like that.
Mr. BRIGGS. Let me speak as a member of the board. My view of immigration issues is the facts speak for themselves, despite what's said up here. To me, all we have to do is put out the facts, and the facts support, in fact, that our immigration policy is out of control, which is what the Hesburgh Commission said, that it needs new priorities, which is what Barbara Jordan's Commission said, and all you have to do is put out the facts.
Mr. CANNON. Well, I
Mr. BRIGGS. And that's all we ever do, and that's allas long as I've been on the board, it's not a propaganda factory
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Camarota has just pointed out that you are driven by a set of beliefs. Is it not fair to sort of assume that those beliefs drive where you look and what facts you come up with?
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRIGGS. I'm sure that the people believe there's something wrong with immigration. Now, some of these people come from different backgrounds. That is, some people are concerned about environment. There are some people concerned about population. There are people like me that are concerned about low-wage workers, and I'm still watchingI'd love to answer what you all keep saying. We don't get the chance to answer any of
Mr. CANNON. You see, I think that it's absolutely clear that there's a problem with immigration and I think that, frankly, I agree with a vast amount of the stuff that you and I might agree with if we sat out and had a Coke in the cafeteria. But I'm concerned about some things where we may not agree. For instance, do people on the board of CIS have the same view or have similar views about population control than maybe the people at FAIR have?
Mr. BRIGGS. No, it's
Mr. CAMAROTA. They would have to speak for themselves here. I mean, I think that'syou would have to call them and ask them what they think. I think it would be a mistake for us to assign beliefs
Mr. BRIGGS. Many of the people on the CIS board are Democrats. Many of them are Republicans. Some are liberals and some are conservatives. The only thing we have in common is a concern that our immigration policy needs to be reformed, needs to be changed, and that's the only thing that we work together on and believe that all you have to do is put out the facts
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CANNON. I see that my time has expired. Let me just point out that there are many ways you can go after you say there's a problem.
Mr. BRIGGS. Yes.
Mr. CANNON. My sense is that the choices that you're pursuing and that you're evaluating are relatively restricted, and I, for one, want to solve the problems we have andbecause I really believe we have serious problems, and when you have a vast disproportion of crime among people who are here illegally, because criminals come here because they want to hide in the shadows of people who won't answer the door because they don't want their status in America to be challenged, that's a huge problem that we need to address and that's urgent.
Now, there are many long-term problems, and I do hope that we can actually work together on some of these things. Maybe we can get you some questions that will help us focus on what I think are the importantilluminate some of those areas that I think are important to consider as a possible way to resolve our questions and problems.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back after having gone overtime. I apologize.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. That's all right. It's an issue of great interest to all of us.
I'd like to start with a second round of questions. In my first round, deviating somewhat from the specifics of the subject matter here, there is a lot of discussion today and a lot of support today for the enforcement of our immigration laws as they are today.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As a result of September 11, given the fact that the United States was attacked by the air as a result of activity through our commercial airline system, commercial air travel system, the Federal Government took it upon itself to create a new agency, the Transportation Security Administration, and hired 35,000 new Federal employees according to the law. Since that time, we've learned that we've hired quite a bit over 35,000 to work in the TSA because we believe that air security was a very important issue, that we believe that it was highly important to the safety of the United States that we hire tens of thousands of more Federal employees.
Mr. Camarota, if the United States Government would take the same view of illegal immigration, for example, and hire tens of thousands of new, say, Interior enforcement agents, do you think we could make a significant impact on illegal immigration today, not only with regard to new illegal immigration, but the illegal immigration population as it exists in the United States today?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Oh, absolutely. In the 1990's we actually cut back dramatically on Interior enforcement. The Border Patrol today is still, in terms of the numbers of agents on duty, is considerably smaller than the New York City Transit Authority cops. There are fewer agents guarding our border. We have spent relatively modest amounts of money and we've actually cut back in a lot of key areas.
The INS estimates that 150,000 illegal aliens go home on their own each year, 50,000 get deported, and actually about 200,000 get legal status each year. But that means thatand about 20,000 die, just because it's a large population. That tells us that out-migration from illegal status is very large.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If we significantly improved our Border Patrol and Interior enforcement and increase the number of people going home on their own, and that's what we do, and reduced the number coming in, this problem could largely take care of itself on its own.
The only way you could even ever talk about an amnesty is something maybe at some point to consider to tie up loose ends. But we don't have that. If we spent several years getting it under control, then we could talk and see what we might want to do from there for some long-time residents, maybe, possibly. But we don't have that. If we have another amnesty like in the past, we'll just replace them with more illegal aliens and we don't have to. I think enforcement really could work.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Unless we say we can try something with regard to a guest worker program after tens of thousands of Interior enforcement agents, new Interior enforcement agents
Mr. CAMAROTA. Right. If you want a guest worker program, you've got to create the incentive for people to sign up for it. If you can just come here illegally and not give your name, again, everything has got to be based on enforcement and the rule of law.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you.
Mr. Anderson, I have a question for you. Your program existed before September 11, 2001, did it not?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. So your program was not spurred on. You did not reach the acclaim that you have today necessarily as a result of 9/11.
Mr. ANDERSON. No, sir.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Would you not think that after 9/11, if the United States of America, if its citizenry, if the Government equated terrorism with immigration and in order to eliminate terrorism in America today we crack down on immigration in a way never before in the history of our country, would there be much need for your radio program in California if we equated terrorism with immigration and if we cracked down on illegal immigration, or legal immigration, or status of visitors' visas? Would there be much?
Mr. ANDERSON. Very good question. I think there would because the people that I know in California do not equate immigration with terrorism. They don't. I think that's a small equation in their minds, but it's way in the back, and I say that from this point.
I think people who come here to do us harm can come here and blend into the system better because we're so lax on illegal immigration. But I will acknowledge, I will acknowledge here today that most of these people who come here are not terrorists. The vast majority are not terrorists. They come here to work. I'll acknowledge that.
But my message on the radio show is the same it was on September 10. We have not changed that message, and that message is our culture and our sovereignty is being violated by these people being here.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If I may expand just a little bit
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Yes.
Mr. ANDERSON. Mr. Berman talked about the money spent at the border enforcing this and how it's more than food stamps. Well, it's been wasted. That money has been wasted at the border. They've wasted it on things that were unnecessary and did not work. There are other things they could have spent that money on. I'm not saying I know more than the Federal Government does, but I know this. It hasn't worked. Something else has to be tried, and amnesty is not the key.
But I would say the problem behind that money being wasted is the will to enforce the law, the will. The will is not here in this Congress, folks. It's not here. Just by Mr. Berman's refusal to admit these people are illegalwell, not refusal, but he intimated that they're illegal if that's what you want to call them. That's what they are, sir. They're illegal aliens. The statutes of the United States say if you do not come here with the graces of this country
Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I didn't say that.
Mr. ANDERSON. Well, they are illegal. I will put that on the record.
Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for a moment?
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HOSTETTLER. If the gentleman willis the gentleman
Mr. ANDERSON. They are illegally here and it is the will of the people that govern this country that has not been there. They will not deal with this, and that starts at the top with the President on down. Nobody wants to deal with this problem as effective as it can be. And the question asked of Mr. Camarota was absolutely right. If they put this money that they put into these air traffic people, I mean, these screeners at the airport, if they would do that on illegal immigration, we'd have it fixed. But they haven't put the whole force of the Government behind it because there's no will.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman. My time has expired.
We have a series of votes in the House. Are members of the panel able to stay a while longer to take the rest of the questions? We appreciate your indulgence. This is a very important and timely issue and we will now recess.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. How long will it be? Can they get a bite to eat?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Do you know how many votes we have?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Is it just one?
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Ranking Member has come up with an excellent idea, her concern for the members of the panel. If we can recess until 2:15if we could recess until the call of the chair, it will be approximately 2:15. Excuse me. We would like for the folks to be able to eat sometime today. So if the panelwould the panel like to recess for about a half-an-hour? Okay. Let's do that. Let's recess for about a half-an-hour. We will reconvene at 2:15 to continue and conclude the second round of questions. Thank you.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair now recognizes the Ranking Member, the gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much. Well, I think it's appropriate to thank the witnesses. I think they have more than a story to write about, but we do thank them because it's an important hearing.
Let me start with Mr. Griswold and ask him, because of the circumstances under which we're operating, you had mentioned, or there is some comment in your statement about the impact of not doing the right thing, meaning creating some form of reform, and I would justI don't want you to speak for Mr. Anderson, but you can understand the deeply imbeddedthe feelings that we hear across the nation. Do you understand that? I'm talking about people's opposition to this issue of immigration.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Certainly.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Because it's gotten cloudy in the, I guess, recentness of what is happening. So we have lost the historical perspective, which I think you know, the waves of immigrants that came in the 1800's, which they weren't received that well, but they ultimately integrated, then the 1900's, et cetera. What would you answer the question now about the impact on civil liberties?
And I think in my questioning of you, when I spoke about 9/11, and I think the question was posed to Mr. Anderson, whether he was just a product of 9/11, I know he's not a product of 9/11. These are issues that have been raised. But that's why my view is that we are long overdue for some form of reform. But if you would comment on the civil liberties impact and the need for reform pointedly as it relates to this whole problem.
Mr. GRISWOLD. I would say the problem is we need a reorientation of mission. The focus of our immigration policy has been to keep people out who, heaven forbid, might want to come here and work and build a better life. I think our policy should focus on people who come here to do us harm and create the legal channels so that peaceful, hard-working immigrants can enter the country.
The civil liberties angle is that efforts to cope with economic immigration, I think compromise the civil liberties of all Americans, and such issues as the national identity card, that in order to enforce our rules against immigration, Americans would need to all carry a national ID as sort of an internal passport or license to live, as some people have characterized it. I think that is downright un-American, if you ask me.
Secondly, the idea of some sort of national database, where your name would have to be in there in order for you to work. You know, to put it mildly, the Federal Government is not on the cutting edge of technological evolution in this country, so I kind of shudder what would happen if our abilitythe ability of American citizens to work would have to depend on a national data bank that would be open to hackers and human error and abuse and technological failure.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And finally, Ms. Jackson Lee, there is a question of discrimination. You know, most illegal immigrants are from Mexico and Latin America, so efforts to enforce these laws does tend to put employers in a difficult spot where they look more closely at Hispanic, and this has been documented by studies, applicants.
And so, yes, I think if we were to straighten out our immigration laws to create this legal channel, I think it would not only enhance our national security and our economy, but also our civil liberties.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me just quickly follow up on that and ask the question, you heard Mr. Anderson, you've heard me make some comments. What do we say to the African American population that feelsand more than feels, probably has issues where they have been impactedhow do we track thatwell, not track it. Let me do this.
How do we reconcile what I think is a reasonable approach, because I think I've heard Mr. Camarota, and if we had more time, I'm worried about the safety of the witnesses, I would ask whether or not he wants to increase the number of dying or dead immigrants so that he could increase his numbers of people who are not here, and I say that tongue in cheek, but he added that their dead ones are 20,000, something else, and that's how we get them out. So I guess maybe he wants to raise the number of dying individuals so that we get them out.
But the point is, is that there are some questions about whether or not someone is turned away from a job. How do we reconcile that? That means that we have to look at the overall labor policy, rebuilding jobs. How do we reconcile that issue? You would not deny that there is not racism in this country, that we are still fighting that question?
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. GRISWOLD. No. No, I wouldn't deny that. What I think is unfortunate about Terry's remarks is it seems to pit one group against another. It's though Hispanic gains or Hispanic immigration is a loss to the black community. I just reject that.
I think a strong economy is good for both groups. The key to black advancement is not restricting Hispanic immigration. It's to creating a vibrant economy that is creating opportunities for people. It's to invest in education so people can raise their productivity.
And again, I will just quote from the National Research Council report. It's just a short statement. None of the available evidence in spatial correlation, meaning across the country, suggests that in the aggregate, the economic opportunities of black Americans are substantially reduced by immigration. They found no evidence of it, and I don't think the evidence supports. There is a feeling out there. Unfortunately, it's being fed by people who don't understand the impact of immigration.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me ask Dr. Briggs just a moment here. You had an article in 1977, The Chicano Worker. What was that about?
Mr. BRIGGS. That was a book.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. What was the book about, sir?
Mr. BRIGGS. The Chicano Worker was co-authored with Walter Flogel and Fred Schmidt from UCLA. It was the first book dealing with the labor market for Chicanos, dealing with labor employment patterns, job patterns, the issue of discrimination, rural labor markets, and immigration. Immigration was in there.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. But succinctly, what was the point of the book? What was the ultimate conclusion of the book?
Mr. BRIGGS. The point basically was that this was an emerging group in the U.S. population and it was a significant part of the American Southwest, but it was becoming part of other labor
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And they had some value at that time when you
Mr. BRIGGS. And there were issues of discrimination, and there was efforts ofbut we also showed the human capital training programs paid off a lot more for Hispanics than it did for blacks and, consequently, it would make more sense to emphasize more on manpower human resource policy than focus exclusively on anti-discrimination policy. There was a much bigger payoff.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well, that's what I thought. It almost seems to me that you've had a metamorphical change, because I thought that's what the book emphasized, and at that time, in 1977, to utilize these workers constructively and provide training.
Mr. BRIGGS. Absolutely.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me ask you this. Did you have an opportunity to sit down with Barbara Jordan on these issues?
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BRIGGS. I've met with Barbara Jordan. I testified before her Commission. I knew Barbara Jordan when I wrote books on black employment in Houston when she was a state Senator in Houston. I used to teach in the University of Texas
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I'm aware of that.
Mr. BRIGGS.and I haven't changed one bit. I got into this issue down on the Southwestern border in 1966 when Cesar Chavez came to Texas to organize farm workers. I was down there. I met with him at the University of Texas. I went down to the border for the first time. That's where I saw it and I saw this is impossible to win this strike, and to this day, those people are not organized. We cannot win this strike given our current border policies.
And that's what got me backing into this whole issue. And then I started studying manpower, which is what I taught in Texas, human resource economics and public policy, about education and training paying off, and it doesn't pay off in the Valley. It doesn't pay off as well for some groups as it does for others.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Well
Mr. BRIGGS. Part of it was immigration.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me conclude
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRIGGS. And that's what the Select Commission said, too
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me conclude by saying this. First of all, I want to say to Mr. Anderson, I'm not ignoring you. I'd like to sit and work with you. You have a voice and I want to deal with these issues. I've dealt with them before.
But let me just say this about Mr. Briggs for a momentDr. Briggs, excuse me. Likewise, I had the experience with Barbara Jordan. As you well know, she amended the Voter Rights Act of 1965 to include Spanish language. So I don't want her legacy and memory to be characterized with discriminatory policies because I think that one of the things by her life being shortened and short-changed in 1996 did allow her to vest and to carry the message of what her Commission was attempting to do. The only thing that people speak to is the national ID card. I think that Congresswoman Barbara Jordan would have looked at this whole issue of earned access to legalizationshe was trying to get her hands around this big question. So I disagree with citing her name as one that would now agree with these policies.
I'd only say to you is that we havethis is Judiciary. We have a manpower question. We have a training question, and that question is parallel to this question of the flow of immigration. And we have a question of lacking in reform, Mr. Chairman. So I hope this hearing has given us some sense that we've got to do some reforms. We might be able to include Dr. Briggs, Mr. Camarota on their thoughts. I'm not sure if I've heard them say we want to absolute blank it out.
And what I hear from Mr. AndersonI'll just ask you a question so that you don't think that I'm ignoring you. When your callers call in
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. ANDERSON. I didn't think you were ignoring me.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. When they call in, they're talkingdo you paint your listeners as racist?
Mr. ANDERSON. No, ma'am.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Okay. So when they call in, they're talking about the pain of loss of jobs. They can't get jobs. And I guess some do have opinion that enough is enough. I mean, how do you characterize this?
Mr. ANDERSON. We get a racist call maybe one out of 500
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Okay.
Mr. ANDERSON.and we cut them off immediately. This is not about race with us. Thirty-eight percent of our listeners are of Hispanic descent, some immigrants who are also against illegal immigration because of what it does to their communities.
But I don't paint people as racist when they're worried about their lives, when they're worried about theiryou know, Mr. Griswold, with all due respect, said there's no effect on black Americans. Our schools in South Central L.A. are busting at the seams. Schools that were once, 10 years ago, 80 percent black are now 90 percent Hispanic with kids who require bilingual education, which takes away from the other children, with a job market that now requires bilingual education, that takes away from the American worker. I don't understand where there's no effect.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I would ask him, what do I say to these black folks who call my show and the thousand e-mails that I get every week from black people who tell me, ''I'm being displaced. What do I do? How do I deal with this?''
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you. The Chairman has been very indulgent. Let me let Mr. Griswold close and then I will close because you've been very indulgent. Thank you very much.
Mr. Griswold, answer that for us.
Mr. GRISWOLD. My brief response is, California has a lot of very profound problems. I mean, to go to the drastic measure of recalling your governor, this is something that happens about once a century in this country. So I think the experience of Southern California doesn't necessarily speak to the immigrant experience in this country.
I just got back from a trip to your wonderful State of Texas earlier this week. They seem to be much better at integrating Hispanic and Mexican immigrants in Texas for a number of reasons. One, cultural. Two, I think it's because Texas is just better managed as a State in terms of the finances and other things.
So I think the problems that my friend Terry is talking about have very little to do with immigration and have just about everything to do with the way California has been mismanaged as a State, and the people of California spoke loud and clear about that a couple of weeks ago.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me conclude. Mr. Chairman, you have been gracious in your time. We know we're operating in a very tense situation. I would just raise this question to you, Mr. Chairman, and our time is moving on this session.
One, we are being asked to look at HB1s, as I understand. I hear some rumors about reauthorization, and Mr. Smith and I worked on this together and I think we can be creative in the kind of training programs and job creation issues, even though, of course, we realize that Labor Workforce will look at us. But I think that we would be remiss if we did not entertain those questions because we're hearing two issues here.
The other issue is, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to get a one-on-one, that we have an opportunity to sit down and update our priority list and look at hearings on earned access to legalization. Let's hear fromwe did not have an opportunity to hear from labor folk who are seeing these people in the workforce every day. But on this question of earned access to legalization, where you do put criteria in to be able to get these people from under the shadows and under the problems of non-documentation, and there are many aspects. You have been hearing comments about guest worker programs. You have been hearing a lot of things.
But let's see if we can move to the next step. You've had this hearing and I'd like to see us move to the next step. I want to thank the Chairman very much for this very instructive hearing, and gentlemen, I have heard all of you. I have heard you all. Thank you for your testimony.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I look forward to working with the gentlelady from Texas
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. May I ask unanimouswell, I'll let you finish that sentence. I'm sorry.
Mr. HOSTETTLER.working with the gentlelady from Texas on those issues that she's brought up.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I ask unanimous consent to submit into the record Immigration Policy Focus, September 2002, ''Mexican Immigrant Workers and the U.S. Economy: An Increasingly Vital Role,'' American Immigration Law Foundation.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
[The information of Ms. Jackson Lee follows in the Appendix]
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The chair would tell Members that they have seven legislative days to insert additional material into the record. I want to thank the witnesses for your indulgence and your generosity of your time given the unique circumstances that we've worked under today.
For your information, a Halloween costume has been found that as a part of that costume had a plastic firearm with it, and so our safety is at a much greater level than it was, say, a few moments ago as we discussed at the table.
The business before the Subcommittee being complete, we are adjourned.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[Whereupon, at 2:53 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCcobb17.eps
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCC2.eps
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCE.eps
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
FEBRUARY 16, 2000
NEW ORLEANS, LA
The AFL-CIO proudly stands on the side of immigrant workers. Throughout the history of this country, immigrants have played an important role in building our nation and its democratic institutions. New arrivals from every continent have contributed their energy, talent, and commitment to making the United States richer and stronger. Likewise, the American union movement has been enriched by the contributions and courage of immigrant workers. Newly arriving workers continue to make indispensable contributions to the strength and growth of our unions. These efforts have created new unions and strengthened and revived others, benefitting all workers, immigrant and native-born alike. It is increasingly clear that if the United States is to have an immigration system that really works, it must be simultaneously orderly, responsible and fair. The policies of both the AFL-CIO and our country must reflect those goals.
The United States is a nation of laws. This means that the federal government has the sovereign authority and constitutional responsibility to set and enforce limits on immigration. It also means that our government has the obligation to enact and enforce laws in ways that respect due process and civil liberties, safeguard public health and safety, and protect the rights and opportunities of workers.
The AFL-CIO believes the current system of immigration enforcement in the United States is broken and needs to be fixed. Our starting points are simple:
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Undocumented workers and their families make enormous contributions to their communities and workplaces and should be provided permanent legal status through a new amnesty program.
Regulated legal immigration is better than unregulated illegal immigration.
Immigrant workers should have full workplace rights in order to protect their own interests as well as the labor rights of all American workers.
Labor and business should work together to design cooperative mechanisms that allow law-abiding employers to satisfy legitimate needs for new workers in a timely manner without compromising the rights and opportunities of workers already here.
Labor and business should cooperate to undertake expanded efforts to educate and train American workers in order to upgrade their skill levels in ways that enhance our shared economic prosperity.
Criminal penalties should be established to punish employers who recruit undocumented workers from abroad for the purpose of exploiting workers for economic gain.
Current efforts to improve immigration enforcement, while failing to stop the flow of undocumented people into the United States, have resulted in a system that causes discrimination and leaves unpunished unscrupulous employers who exploit undocumented workers, thus denying labor rights for all workers.
The combination of a poorly constructed and ineffectively enforced system that results in penalties for only a few of the employers who violate immigration laws has had especially detrimental impacts on efforts to organize and adequately represent workers. Unscrupulous employers have systematically used the I-9 process in their efforts to retaliate against workers who seek to join unions, improve their working conditions, and otherwise assert their rights.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Therefore, the AFL-CIO calls for replacing the current I-9 system as a tool of workplace immigration enforcement. We should substitute a system of immigration enforcement strategies that focuses on the criminalization of employer behavior, targeting those employers who recruit undocumented workers from abroad, either directly or indirectly. It should be supplemented with strong penalties against employers who abuse workers' immigration status to suppress their rights and labor protections. The federal government should aggressively investigate, and criminally prosecute, those employers who knowingly exploit a worker's undocumented status in order to prevent enforcement of workplace protection laws.
We strongly believe employer sanctions, as a nationwide policy applied to all workplaces, has failed and should be eliminated. It should be replaced with an alternative policy to reduce undocumented immigration and prevent employer abuse. Any new policy must meet the following principles: 1) it must seek to prevent employer discrimination against people who look or sound foreign; 2) it must allow workers to pursue legal remedies, including supporting a union, regardless of immigration status; and 3) it must avoid unfairly targeting immigrant workers of a particular nationality.
There is a long tradition in the United States of protecting those who risk their financial and physical well-being to come forward to report violations of laws that were enacted for the public good. Courageous undocumented workers who come forward to assert their rights should not be faced with deportation as a result of their actions. The recent situation at the Holiday Inn Express in Minneapolis highlights the perversity of the current situation. Therefore, the AFL-CIO calls for the enactment of whistleblower protections providing protected immigration status for undocumented workers who report violations of worker protection laws or cooperate with federal agencies during investigations of employment, labor and discrimination violations. Such workers should be accorded full remedies, including reinstatement and back pay. Further, undocumented workers who exercise their rights to organize and bargain collectively should also be provided protected immigration status.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Millions of hard-working people who make enormous contributions to their communities and workplace are denied basic human rights because of their undocumented status. Many of these men and women are the parents of children who are birthright U.S. citizens. The AFL-CIO supports a new amnesty program that would allow these members of local communities to adjust their status to permanent resident and become eligible for naturalization. The AFL-CIO also calls on the Immigration and Naturalization Service to address the shameful delays facing those seeking to adjust their status as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act.
Immediate steps should include legalization for three distinct groups of established residents: 1) approximately half-a-million Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Haitians, who fled civil war and civil strife during the 1980s and early 1990s and were unfairly denied refugee status, and have lived under various forms of temporary legal status; 2) approximately 350,000 long-resident immigrants who were unfairly denied legalization due to illegal behavior by the INS during the amnesty program enacted in the late 1980s; and 3) approximately 10,000 Liberians who fled their homeland's brutal civil war and have lived in the United States for years under temporary legal status.
Guestworker programs too often are used to discriminate against U.S. workers, depress wages and distort labor markets. For these reasons, the AFL-CIO has long been troubled by the operation of such programs. The proliferation of guestworker programs has resulted in the creation of a class of easily exploited workers, who find themselves in a situation very similar to that faced by undocumented workers. The AFL-CIO renews our call for the halt to the expansion of guestworker programs. Moreover, these programs should be reformed to include more rigorous labor market tests and the involvement of labor unions in the labor certification process. All temporary guestworkers should be afforded the same workplace protections available to all workers.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The rights and dignity of all workers can best be ensured when immigrant and non-immigrant workers are fully informed about the contributions of immigrants to our society and our unions, and about the rights of immigrants under current labor, discrimination, naturalization and other laws. Labor unions have led the way in developing model programs that should be widely emulated. The AFL-CIO therefore supports the creation of education programs and centers to educate workers about immigration issues and to assist workers in exercising their rights.
Far too many workers lack access to training programs. Like all other workers, new immigrants want to improve their lives and those of their families by participating in job training. The AFL-CIO supports the expansion of job training programs to better serve immigrant populations. These programs are essential to the ability of immigrants to seize opportunities to compete in the new economy.
Immigrant workers make enormous contributions to our economy and society, and deserve the basic safety net protections that all other workers enjoy. The AFL-CIO continues to support the full restoration of benefits that were unfairly taken away through Federal legislation in 1996, causing tremendous harm to immigrant families.
JULY 31, 2001
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In just the last few weeks, leaders at all levels of government have heard the voices of immigrants and their allies in labor, religious, civil rights and community groups, demanding an opportunity for undocumented workers to move out of the shadows and continue their contributions in their workplaces and communities without fear and with the rights and protections of any other U.S. worker. Many states and localities have embraced immigrant workers and their families, establishing day labor centers to ensure a decent wage for hard work, facilitating easier access to driver's licenses, and investing in the future by helping more immigrant children attend college. And most recently, both the White House and Congress appear poised to push serious changes in immigration law that will affect us all, regardless of immigration status.
The AFL-CIO welcomes these developments. Though globalization is often viewed as a one-way street to move capital around the world, it can pave the road to reunification of families and to opportunities to improve living standards through hard work. The United States bears dramatic testament to this phenomenon: according to the 2000 census, there are more foreign-born people in the United States now, in all categories of immigration, than ever before.
As a workers' movement built by immigrants, we believe the nation should embrace immigrants for the diversity and values they bring, rather than fear them as threats to values or jobs. Hopefully, the debates in town halls, Congress and the media will culminate in prompt and fair changes that benefit us all, and that reflect our values as a people.
More than a year ago, in February 2000, the AFL-CIO Executive Council firmly and squarely set out our view that immigrants have played and continue to play an extremely important role in the workplace and society; and that they are entitled to full and fair workplace protections. We believe that the principles we laid out in our statement on immigration should form national immigration policy. Specifically:
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
undocumented workers and their families should be provided permanent legal status through a new legalization program;
employer sanctions and the I-9 system should be replaced with a system that targets and criminalizes business behavior that exploits workers for commercial gain;
immigrant workers should have full workplace rights, including the right to organize and protections for whistleblowers;
labor and business together should design mechanisms to meet legitimate needs for new workers without compromising the rights and opportunities of workers already here; and
guestworker programs should be reformed but not expanded.
The foundation of any discussion on immigration must begin with a broad legalization program that makes no distinction based on country of origin and that allows undocumented workers and their families who have been working hard, paying taxes and contributing to their communities the opportunity to adjust to permanent legal resident status. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is blazing the trail that the country must follow to address the inequities in our current immigration system.
The AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions will work vigilantly with our coalition partners representing the immigrant, ethnic, faith, and civil rights communities to ensure that comprehensive legislation providing for legalization and the enforcement of workplace rights for all workers is introduced in Congress and ultimately signed into law.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Along with legalization, reform of the immigration system must also include repeal of the current system of workplace immigration enforcement with its emphasis on the I-9 system. The current system does not work: not only does it not deter the hiring of undocumented workers, it actually protects employers who violate labor law as a matter of business practice. Instead of punishing workers, the I-9 enforcement system should be replaced with one that further criminalizes smuggling and production of fraudulent documents for commercial gain, creates stiff penalties for employers who exploit immigrant status to interfere with workers' exercise of employment and labor rights, and gives protected status to those immigrant workers who courageously come forward to protest violations of their workplace rights. The workplace is stronger, fairer and safer for all when the rights of every worker are equally protected and enforced by law.
We should recognize that one of the reasons for undocumented immigration is that our current legal immigration system for family members and for workers is in shamefully bad shape. Whether addressing the family reunification backlogs or processing the applications of those seeking to adjust their status, the INS should be appropriated adequate amounts of funding specifically dedicated to benefits and services. The promise of legalization is only real when the agency administering the program has properly trained staff, reasonable regulations promulgated in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law, and the funding necessary to process applications in a fair and efficient manner.
Beginning the debate on immigration reform by fashioning it around creation of an extensive new guestworker program for low-skill jobs, as some have proposed, is a wrong-headed approach. The upshot of every guestworker program in the United States to-date has been to further depress wages for all workers, foreign and U.S.-born, to cause greater exploitation, and to reduce overall employment opportunities. Oftentimes, the agricultural guestworker program continues even as its abuses are chronicled. In the future for other industries, it is unacceptable to tie immigrant workers to an employer, industry or region with the nebulous promise of some form of legalization after a period of many years. It is equally unacceptable that guestworkers be used to deny opportunities to U.S. workers and drive wages down. Guestworker programs must be reformed first before we discuss their use as a tool for legalization.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Along with U.S. workers, immigrant workers perform valuable jobs. Too often, employers have attempted to divide workers by race, ethnicity and immigration status, playing one group against the other to undermine solidarity and preclude workers from achieving progress together. History has proven that mistreatment of one group in a workplace will ultimately lead to the mistreatment of all workers. We have much to learn from each other. We must be mindful of and learn from the history of oppression that many U.S. workers have faced, in particular the long struggle of African-American workers. All workers must understand the difference that unions make for workers, whether it is a living wage, better benefits or a safer work environment.
Like our nation, our workplaces are becoming more diverse. Our nation, our workplaces, and our movement will be better and stronger by including those previously excluded. Together, as union brothers and sisters, we will embrace, celebrate and respect our diversity, and will aggressively pursue policies and laws that ensure the fair treatment for all workers and their families.
(Footnote 1 return)
Samuel Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labor. (New York: E.P. Dutton Company, 1925), Volume 2, p.154.
(Footnote 2 return)
Ibid., p. 157.
(Footnote 3 return)
For elaboration see Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., Immigration and American Unionism, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.
(Footnote 4 return)
''Immigration Reform,'' AFL-CIO Policy Resolution Adopted October 1985 by the Sixteenth Constitutional Convention, (Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO, 1986) pp. 4546.
(Footnote 5 return)
''Immigration Reform,'' AFL-CIO Policy Resolution Adopted November 1987, (Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO, 1988), p. 4748.
(Footnote 6 return)
''Immigration Reform,'' AFL-CIO Policy Resolution Adopted November 1989, (Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO, 1990), p. 46.
(Footnote 7 return)
U.S. Department of Commerce, Current Population Reports, P251130 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996).
(Footnote 8 return)
National Research Council, The New Americans, (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997), p. 95.
(Footnote 9 return)
''Immigration and the Labor Movement,'' Policy Resolutions Adopted October 1993 by the AFL-CIO Convention, (Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO, 1994), p. 14.
(Footnote 10 return)
(Footnote 11 return)
U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Legal Immigration: Setting Priorities, (Washington, D.C., U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1996), see letter of transmittal, p. i.
(Footnote 12 return)
U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Becoming an American: Immigration and Immigrant Policy, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, 1997).
(Footnote 13 return)
''Immigration Reform,'' Policy Resolution Adopted October 1995 by the AFL-CIO Convention, (Washington, D.C.: AFL-CIO, 1996), p. 68.
(Footnote 14 return)
''Immigration,'' AFL-CIO Executive Council Actions, (February 16, 2000), pp. 14.
(Footnote 15 return)
''Hasty Call for Amnesty,'' New York Times, (February 22, 2000), p. A-22.
(Footnote 16 return)
Tom Ramstock, ''AFL-CIO Adopts Amnesty Proposal,'' Washington Times, (December 5, 2001), p. C6.
(Footnote 17 return)
Hoffman Plastic Compounds v. National Labor Relations Board, (2002).
(Footnote 18 return)
Gina Holland, ''Politics: Court Decides Illegal Immigrants Not Entitled to Same Rights as U.S. Worker, Associated Press Online, (March 27, 2002) p. 1.
(Footnote 19 return)
National Labor Relations Board v. Kolkka, 9th Cit., No. 9771132 (March 17, 1999).
(Footnote 20 return)
''Meissner Announces New INS Strategy to Combat Smuggling on Illegal Workers,'' Daily Labor Report, (March 31, 1999), No. 61, p. A-9; ''Ex-Panel Member Blasts INS Decision to de-Emphasize Worksite Enforcement,'' Daily Labor Report, No. 127, p. A-3
(Footnote 21 return)
James G. Gimpel and James R. Edwards, ''The Silent Majority,'' Journal of Commerce, (June 23, 1998), p. 8A.
(Footnote 22 return)
Timothy H. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson, ''The Impact of Immigration on American Labor Markets Prior to the Quotas,'' Working Paper No. 5185, (Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., 1995), p. 30.
(Footnote 23 return)
Stanley Lebergott, Manpower in Economic Growth, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964), p. 163.
(Footnote 24 return)
Timothy H. Hatton and Jeffery G. Williamson, Op. cit. p. 30. [Emphasis is on the original]; See also Stanley Lebergott, op. cit., p. 162
(Footnote 25 return)
Harry A. Mills and Royal E. Montgomery, Labor's Progress and Some Basic Labor Problems, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1938), p.31; see also pp. 239 and 244 for related discussions.
(Footnote 26 return)
Joseph G. Rayback, A History of American Labor, (New York: Free Press, 19676), p. 278.
(Footnote 27 return)
Mills and Montgomery, op. cit. p. 211.
(Footnote 28 return)
Lebergott, op. cit. p. 164.
(Footnote 29 return)
National Research Council, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, Edited by James P. Smith and Barry Edemonton (Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press, 1997).
(Footnote 30 return)
Statement of Professor Barbara Jordan, Chair, U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, (News Release by the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Washington, D. C., June 7, 1995).
(Footnote 31 return)
Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 1994, (Washington, D. C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994), p. 120.
(Footnote 32 return)
Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report of the President, 1995, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), p. 182; and Council of Economic Advisers, Economic Report . . . 1994, op. cit., p. 120 See also Daniel H. Weinberg, ''A Brief Look at Postwar U.S. Income Inequality,'' Current Population Report, P60191, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1996), p. 1.
(Footnote 33 return)
For elaboration, see Briggs, Immigration and American Unionism, op. cit., Chapter 6
(Footnote 34 return)
Melvin W. Reder, ''The Economic Consequences of Increased Immigration,'' The Review of Economic and Statistics, (August, 1963),p.31.