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Wage Growth for American Workers Threatened by Lack of Wall, Expected Rise in Illegal Immigration

Border Crossings
John Moore/Getty Images
Washington, D.C.

Illegal immigration pouring across the United States-Mexico border is likely to rise this year, according to a Princeton University expert, as President Trump’s border wall has yet to be constructed.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner‘s Paul Bedard, Princeton Policy Adviser President Steven Kopits said illegal immigration in 2018 is likely to increase by 70 percent — or about 590,000 border-crossings for 2018.

Such an increase, Kopits told the Washington Examiner, would put 2018 as the “second highest year since 2010” for illegal immigration on the southern border.

The report comes as Trump’s proposed border wall has yet to be paid for and constructed, leaving the southern border just as open as it was under former President Obama.

The spike in illegal immigration for this year would translate into suppressing wage gains for American workers, who over the last couple of months have enjoyed historic wage growth due to increased immigration enforcement and less illegal immigration in 2017 largely due to Trump’s rhetoric.

In Kopits’ most recent report on illegal immigration, he notes that California’s farm wages for Americans have increased because of slower illegal immigration throughout 2017 and increased enforcement, with the caveat, “However, the more enforcement succeeds, the higher wages will go, and the greater the incentive to evade the ban. In California, for example, tougher border enforcement has raised farm wages to $16 / hour, up perhaps $5 / hour over earlier times.”

Those wages gains, though, risk being depleted this year. Also running the risk of being depleted is history-making wage growth for American workers in the construction industry, the garment industry, for workers employed at small businesses, and black Americans.

As Breitbart News most recently reported, businesses such as Walmart, Dollar Tree, Target, Foot Locker, J.C. Penney, Bojangles, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ross, and Burlington Coat Factory have mentioned that there is pressure for them to raise Americans’ wages in Trump’s tightened labor market.

But, should illegal immigration, along with legal immigration levels, continue – where the U.S. admits more than one million foreign nationals to the country every year — the wage pressure currently on corporations could be ended.

Already, Americans have seen stagnant wage growth as border-crossings have continued to increase under Trump. For example, in February 2018, the number of illegal aliens apprehended at the southern border increased by more than 2.5 percent.

At the same time, wage growth for Americans has become stagnant again, as Reuters noted:

Wage growth is watched closely by the Fed as evidence of the labor market’s strength, and at 2.6 percent year over year remains “disappointing…It is still too soon to declare full employment,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

Slow wage growth for Americans would drive down incentives for likely voters to turn out in the midterm elections for Republicans, as the supposed stricter immigration enforcement touted by the White House would not be translating into benefits for the working and middle class.

This week, Trump visited the border wall prototypes in San Diego, California. Though the administration has said the process is necessary, the prototypes have been sitting in the San Diego desert for over half a year now, with no timeline in sight of when the construction of the wall will break ground.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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