Yes, We Have Enough Workers

The Quote Below—More Misinformation from the Media

“In April, as COVID-19 spread through the United States, President Donald Trump imposed a two-month pause on nearly all legal immigration to protect America’s physical and economic health. He has now extended the ban until December and expanded it, while acknowledging that the changes are primarily about protectionism for American labor. . . .

“Foreign workers typically fill niches at both the top and bottom ends of the labor spectrum, where qualified Americans aren’t available or willing to take jobs. If there were a surfeit of such workers, the labor market would itself reduce foreign worker inflows, since existing labor and immigration laws already make it costly to hire a foreigner. But restrictionists argue that starving businesses of foreign workers will force them to invest in training domestic workers or to start paying them more.

“Yet the market cannot bear endless price increases. To control labor costs, businesses will automate what they can and outsource what they can’t, resulting in a bigger loss of American jobs.

“The former happened after the end of the ‘bracero’ program in 1964 that had allowed American farmers to hire around half a million Mexican guest workers on a seasonal basis. The small increase in wages that farms had to pay domestic workers evaporated quickly as machines replaced the lost Mexicans.

“The latter will happen in the tech sector. Even when the United States’ overall unemployment rate in June touched 13.3 percent, that number was only 2.5 percent for computing jobs, according to the pro-immigration National Foundation for American Policy.” – Trump’s Visa Ban Will Slow America’s Recovery, Shikna Dalmia, Reason, 10/20  [link]

Fact Check on Quote Above: It is not true, in most instances, that foreigners take jobs at the top and bottom of the economic spectrum because “qualified Americans aren’t available or willing” to take those jobs. In fact, in almost all occupations native-born Americans are the majority of workers. In other words. most jobs are jobs Americans are willing to do.

One exception is agriculture where low pay and hard conditions make certain kinds of farm work unattractive to most Americans. Such work actually isn’t attractive to illegal aliens either. They only do farm work until they can find other options. This creates an endless cycle of illegal immigration to replace those who leave the farms.

The author seems to think it’s a problem if mechanization replaces farm labor. But that seems like a good solution if indeed there are not enough Americans to do the work. Of course this would cost growers an initial investment in machinery, but it would help spare society as a whole the numerous costs of illegal immigration.

In any case, automation will be advancing throughout the economy in the near-future. According to some forecasts, nearly 40 percent of the jobs now done by people will be automated within the next ten to 15 years.  In that situation, immigration advocates will be hard-pressed to come up with any justification for mass immigration.

The author repeats the worn and bogus claim that we don’t have enough qualified people to fill available tech jobs. The truth is that companies prefer to hire foreigners on temporary visas because they can pay them less than Americans and can subject them harder working conditions. If there is a shortage of American tech workers, then why are nearly 75 percent of Americans with college degrees in tech and other STEM fields currently working in other occupations? This explains the supposedly low unemployment rate in tech. Qualified people are no longer trying to find work there.

Another relevant question to ask: If we really have a shortage of qualified tech workers, then why do tech companies often require U.S workers being terminated to train their foreign replacements? Obviously the people doing the training are more qualified than those being trained.

Whenever immigration advocates start talking about labor shortages, a grain of salt is strongly advised. The sources behind these claims are usually those of the cheap labor lobbies.


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