Immigrants, Jobs, and the Economy

Getting Our Work Done: Migrant and Guest Workers in the United States is a short summary of the conditions faced by migrants and guest workers in the U.S. The paper was presented by Edith Rasell, JWM's Minister for Economic Justice, at the World Council of Churches North American Hearings on Poverty, Wealth & Ecology, Calgary, Alberta; November 6-11, 2011.

The Obama Administration is doing fewer surprise workplace raids by immigration officials but more audits of employers' records to check on workers' authorization to work. Audits by federal officials of employers' I-9 tax forms have led to the firings of thousands of workers who are thought to be unauthorized to work. Read about these "silent raids" and the response by workers and their community allies in David Bacon's "Fighting the Firings."

The E-Verify Program that employers may use to verify an employee’s immigration status and authorization to work has multiple, severe problems:

The costs of E-Verify would decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion over 10 years according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

E-Verify relies on an error-ridden database that includes 17.8 million discrepancies, over 12 million of which pertain to native-born U.S. citizens. Up to 3 million workers a year would have to navigate a bureaucratic maze to fix their records.

According to the National Immigration Law Center, expanding E-Verify and requiring employers to use it to screen employees would undermine job growth and cripple small businesses. [120 KB]

Don’t Be Fooled: Immigration is NOT the Real Problem explains that the shortage of good jobs in the U.S. is not due to immigration but lax enforcement of worker protections in the workplace (a Witness for Justice commentary from JWM)

Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform from Center for American Progress

Does Immigration Cost Jobs?  From at the Annenberg Public Policy Center

Immigration Reform and Job Growth from the Immigration Policy Center

Effect of Immigration on Jobs, Wages Is Difficult for Economists to Nail Down, Washington Post, April 15, 2006 

Immigrants Work in Riskier and More Dangerous Jobs in the United States from the Population Reference Bureau

Internet resources on immigrant raids at home and in the workplace