CIS Report: Since 2000 For Every New Job, Two New Immigrants

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

A new report from the anti-amnesty Center for Immigration Studies argues that for every new job that has been created since January 2000, two immigrants came to the United States.

The report, authored by CIS experts Karen Zeigler and Steven Camarota, show that while government data pin the number of legal and illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States in January 2000 or later at 18 million, just 9.3 million new jobs were created over the same period of time.

And while the population was expanding due to immigration, the America-born population of working age (16 and older) grew by 25.2 million.

The report notes that while 18 million new immigrants arrived in the U.S. over the 14-year time frame, the net increase was 12 million, with the rest returning home or dying. The authors say, however, that the figure to look at is the larger one, as it “reflects our immigration policy.”

“The key question for policymakers is whether it makes sense to allow in this number of legal immigrants and tolerate this level of illegal immigration when long-term job growth has not come close to matching these numbers,” the authors write. “Moreover, this record immigration has occurred at a time when job growth has not even kept pace with natural population increase, let alone new immigration.”

CIS argues that the findings are in direct conflict with assertions that more immigration creates more jobs.

“It is a mistake to think every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native, but it is equally wrong to think that adding this huge number of immigrants has no implications for American workers,” Camarota, who is also CIS’ research director, said of the report.

He further took on the argument that immigration is a “job creator.”

“If immigration is the great job creator for natives that advocates argue,”  Camarota continued, “the record number of new arrivals in the last 14 years should have created a jobs bonanza for natives. Instead, job growth did not come close to matching new immigration and natural population increase; and the labor force participation of natives shows a long-term decline, even before the Great Recession.”

The report comes as Republicans in Congress work to block President Obama’s executive amnesty — which is set to provide millions of illegal immigrants legal status and work permits.

Other findings from the report include:

•Between two-thirds and three-fourths of the new arrivals are estimated to be legal immigrants. Of the new arrivals 89 percent were potential workers 16 and older. 

•In addition to the 18 million new immigrants, the native-born working-age population (ages 16 to 65) grew by 16.5 million since 2000; if we count natives over age 65, total native population growth was 25.2 million since 2000.

•Job growth has not come close to matching new immigration and natural population increase; as a result, the labor force participation rate (the share working or looking for work) of native-born Americans 16 to 65 shows a significant long-term decline. 

•The share of native-born Americans 16 to 65 in the labor force was 77 percent in December 2000, 75 percent in December 2007, and 72 percent in December 2014.

•The number of working-age natives not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work) increased by 13 million from December 2000 to December 2014.

•If we look at the period after the Great Recession began, 7.8 million new immigrants arrived from 2008 to 2014, yet net job growth was just two million from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2014.

•If we look at the period before the Great Recession, from January 2000 to December 2007, 11.1 million immigrants arrived and job growth was still only 7.3 million.


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