Immigrant, Illegal Alien Unemployment Skyrockets Amid Pandemic: Study

JASON HOPKINS IMMIGRATION AND POLITICS REPORTER
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Both the immigrant and natural-born populations in the U.S. are suffering from soaring unemployment numbers, according to a study from a conservative think tank.

The unemployment rate among immigrants rose 320% amid the coronavirus pandemic, igniting more concerns over foreign workers entering the country during a precarious time for the labor market, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released Thursday.

The study determined that both legal and undocumented immigrants are suffering from soaring unemployment numbers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 4.3 million unemployed immigrants living in the U.S. in April, CIS found. The number marked a 320% increase for immigrants since February, before the coronavirus crisis hit the country. The unemployment rate for immigrants rose from 3.6 percent in February to 16.4 percent in April.

Individuals living in the U.S. unlawfully were also hit hard by the pandemic, the study found. The immigration think tank determined that the jobless rate for illegal immigrants in April rose to roughly 19.3 percent.

CIS, a Washington-based think tank that advocates for lower levels of immigration, based the study on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Natural-born citizens have not been spared from the economic fallout due to the coronavirus lockdown orders. The CIS study found that the jobless rate from those born in the U.S. jumped from 3.8% in February to 14% in April.

Dr. Steven Camarota, a co-author of the analysis, questioned the federal government’s decision to keep allowing guest workers into the U.S. while the employment rate reached such drastic heights.

“The continued admission of new permanent residents and guest workers based on the idea that there is a labor shortage totally lacks validity,” Camarota said. “With 18.2 million natives and 4.3 million immigrants unemployed, and millions more having given up even looking for work, it is impossible to justify high levels of foreign workers in the United States.”

The CIS study comes as the U.S. economy has been decimated from quarantine lockdown orders, meant to stop the spread of the deadly virus. One study found that more than 100,000 small businesses have closed forever because of the lockdowns.

President Donald Trump issued an immigration order to help protect U.S. workers, such as limiting green card applications, but immigration hawks say this isn’t enough. The leader of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) delivered a letter to Trump to explain his displeasure with the order last moth.

“Not only does your exemption filled Executive Order apply to less than 10 percent of immigrants due according to FAIR’s analysis, it completely ignores what is arguably the largest component of foreign- born impact on the welfare of American workers: out of control guest worker programs including H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B,” Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, wrote to Trump on April 23.

“Under what craven notion of American equity would the United States continue a subordinated labor importation program at a time when American workers are in such distress?” Stein said.

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