”22.9%: The unemployment rate for Americans under age 25, adjusting for the decline in the labor force since the start of the recession. Perhaps no group has been hit harder by the recession and grinding recovery than the young.” – Wall Street Journal
The youngest workers in America are being short-changed by the recession. Their plight is exacerbated by our open-door immigration policy. The hardest hit are African-American youth that reside in our major cities.
Adding to the problem is the ever-increasing minimum wage that makes it difficult for small businesses to afford to hire young workers. If we’d eliminate the minimum wage, we’d quickly bring the unemployment levels for entry-level workers in line with the rest of the population.
Yet I am hearing politicians opine that we need to establish a guest-worker program because there are jobs that Americans don’t want to do.
As an employment and training specialist I meet a large number of unemployed young people who will take just about any job to support themselves and their families.
Although inexperienced in some ways, most young American job-seekers have qualifications exceeding those of immigrants who have skipped across our border to find employment. Among them are basic math and reading skills. And they can communicate with their employers and customers in English. These are two of the criteria that employers seek.
Many of the jobs-that-Americans-don’t-want-to-do fall into the entry-level category. Those entry-level jobs provide an exceptional training ground for young workers to establish skills and develop a solid work-ethic that will allow them to move upward into better paying occupations in the future.
Unfortunately our nanny state allows our youth to languish, receiving the meager crumbs and handouts through the entitlement system, while immigrants take their places in the workforce.
There is something wrong here. I’d like any politician to explain to me why we need to import a labor force to do the jobs that Americans don’t want when we have a significant idle workforce receiving government handouts.
I understand that we can’t send undocumented people who have lived most of their lives in the United States back to their country of origin. Nevertheless my immigration strategy would be:
1. Immediately close the southern border to turn off the illegal immigration spigot before any additional plans to handle the immigration problem are considered.
2. Limit the number of legal immigrants who are allowed to enter and only those who fill a specific employment void until we achieve a minimum of 5% unemployment in the American workforce.
3. Prosecute to the full extent of the law any employer who hires an illegal.
4. Reward, with significant tax credits, employers who enlist training programs for American-born young people.
5. Immediately deport back to their home country any undocumented immigrant who commits a felony.
6. Prosecute and jail any illegal who attempts of vote in one of our elections along with any American who attempts to help them do so.
7. Shorten the road to citizenship for legal immigrants who qualify, and make sure that those who crossed our borders without documentation and want citizenship go to the back of the line.
With an idle workforce exceeding 1 million people between the ages of 18 and 25, we need to address their employment needs before attempting to craft comprehensive guest worker legislation.