Jobs programs for illegal aliens create more problems, not a solution


March 11, 2024

By Dale Wilcox

The anti-borders movement seems to have coalesced around a solution to the immigration crisis that has flooded the United States with millions of illegal aliens: Reward them all with jobs.

Woke public officials across the country from New York to Colorado apparently have decided that the only problem with the endless flow of illegal aliens is that they’re not allowed to compete with Americans for job opportunities.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) late last month announced that her state would allow illegal aliens to obtain government jobs, becoming the first in the nation to do so. To facilitate this, Hochul is relaxing the typical requirements that Americans must meet to become eligible for these jobs, including proficiency in English and possession of a high school diploma. A similar effort is under way in Denver, where government jobs are being eliminated for Americans as the city seeks to hire illegal aliens in brazen violation of federal law.

The need to hand out work permits to illegal aliens has become a popular talking point as political leaders attempt to deflect from the disastrous consequences of their anti-borders policies.

The notion that work permits for illegal aliens are a cure-all for the nation’s immigration crisis has become an article of faith, in particular for New York Mayor Eric Adams, whose city is spending billions of dollars caring for the large number of illegal aliens who have arrived there. The border bill that recently failed in the U.S. Senate also included work authorizations for illegal aliens who claim asylum.

While it might sound better to allow illegal aliens in the country to work rather than become dependent on welfare, this proposed solution would only serve to exacerbate the illegal immigration crisis.

Excluding U.S. citizens from job opportunities in favor of foreign nationals who entered the country illegally is not only morally wrong but a violation of the social contract that every citizen enters with the government.

The vast welfare state illegal aliens can enjoy when they come to the United States is a major driver of the current crisis. Offering them jobs would have the same pull effect.

If aspiring migrants understand that they will be able to work once they enter the country illegally, it will only encourage more to make the dangerous trek through Central America to the southern border and further empower the cartels who traffic them here. After all, the paltry wages many of these aliens earn in their home countries are virtually nothing compared to even the lowest-wage jobs in the United States.

In New York City, for example, the minimum wage is $15 an hour. In Mexico, the minimum wage is less than $15 a day. Promising aliens the chance to earn more in an hour than they could earn in a day by staying in Mexico is a great way to encourage even more illegal border crossings.

It’s also patently unfair to force Americans to compete with illegal aliens for jobs. Excluding U.S. citizens from job opportunities in favor of foreign nationals who entered the country illegally is not only morally wrong but a violation of the social contract that every citizen enters with the government.

This holds especially true for government jobs, considering the job of government is to represent the interests of its citizenry. How can any U.S. citizen reasonably believe that a government staffed by illegal aliens is representing its interests?

The economic case for giving illegal aliens work permits is just as weak as the civic and moral one, considering how much of the money aliens earn would be sent back to their home countries.

A 2019 study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform found that both legal and illegal aliens send, on average, $150 billion a year in untaxed remittances back to their home countries. This is a major part of the economic incentive of illegal immigration, since American wages will go much farther in these aliens’ home countries than they do in the United States.

The real goal of anti-borders politicians pushing work authorizations for illegal aliens is amnesty. By allowing illegal aliens to hold American jobs, they are ultimately setting the stage for legalization even if the aliens’ asylum claims are denied. These leaders will argue that it would be heartless to deport aliens who have worked in the United States and become part of their communities. It is a bait-and-switch. Don’t fall for it.

The U.S. asylum system has long been abused as an economic importation system. Handing out work permits to illegal aliens will only serve to continue this cycle of abuse against the rule of law.

Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at The Blaze, March 11, 2024.

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