On Thursday, a former adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the president of a think tank that supports the Senate’s amnesty bill said America needed sweeping amnesty legislation and more immigrants because native-born Americans are not making enough babies.
“Like all important policy issues, it comes down to sex,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who advised McCain during the 2008 campaign, said Thursday at a National Journal event on immigration. “The blunt fact is the native-born population does not have a fertility rate high enough to keep the population growing.”
His comments on a panel with five others echoed former Florida governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s remarks earlier in the year, when Bush said “immigrants are more fertile” than native-born Americans. As Breitbart News reported, Bush also has said that America’s current “fertility rates” will not produce enough younger workers to enable aging Americans to retire “with dignity.”
Holtz-Eakin, the president of the American Action Forum, which backed the Senate’s amnesty bill, added that there is “no more important economic policy issue than immigration over the long term” and claimed that the “policy debate is over” on amnesty because “there [are] no serious disagreements” over border security and amnesty.
“In the absence of immigration, the U.S. shrinks,” Holtz-Eakin said, noting that that means the country’s population, labor force and “capabilities to grow as a nation and compete internationally” depend on “the choices we [make] like immigration.” He said the nation “absolutely” needed more immigrants.
Immediately, Holtz-Eakin was called out for his assertion that the “policy debate is over” on amnesty by conservative panelist Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and liberal economist Jared Bernstein, the former chief economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who now heads the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Krikorian suggested that the idea that the debate is over is absurd, and Bernstein concurred, saying that the debate is “far from over” because many Americans believe that “immigrant competition has hurt them in the economy,” despite Holtz-Eakin’s contention that the country could absorb all of the nation’s current illegal immigrants.
Last week, scholars debunked the notion that there was a shortage of American workers in the high-tech sector. Moreover, Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies released a report this week that backed up the scholars’ data-based arguments with even more facts. The report found that from 2007-2012, STEM employment “averaged only 105,000 jobs annually” while the U.S. admitted about 129,000 immigrants with STEM degrees and while “the number of U.S.-born STEM graduates grew by an average of 115,00 a year.”
In addition, as Breitbart News reported, there “were 5.3 million immigrant and native-born STEM workers in 2012 compared to 12.1 million STEM degree holders among immigrants and native-born Americans.” Furthermore, according to the report, only “a third of native-born Americans with a STEM degree actually [have jobs] in a STEM occupation” while “at least 5 million native-born Americans with STEM undergraduate degrees are working in non-STEM occupations.”
There is also a surplus of low-skilled American workers as well, as U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow emphasized in his letter to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) earlier this week urging CBC Members to “oppose any legislation that would grant any form of work authorization to illegal aliens” and “would increase the overall number of guest workers admitted to the U.S. each year.”
“The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants,” Kirsanow wrote. “The answer is no.”
A non-partisan Congressional Research Service report this week also found that there were 12,521,545 guest workers admitted from 2000 to 2013. Further, only 2.5 percent of nearly 26 million immigrants who were admitted during that same time received permits to work in seasonal farm programs, which means, consistent with the research of scholars and numerous reports by conservative and liberal think tanks, immigrants are competing with Americans in high-skilled and low-skilled occupations at a time when there are surpluses of legalized and native-born American workers. Yet, the Senate’s bill is projected to double or perhaps triple the number of high-tech visas while granting permanent residency to nearly 30 million individuals over the next decade.
After the National Journal’s “Pathways to Reform” event on Thursday, which Steve Clemons moderated, Holtz-Eakin admitted that he had a “man crush” on former Mississippi Gov. and lobbyist Haley Barbour, who has also been a proponent of the Senate’s amnesty bill and was interviewed before the panel.