Immigration Armageddon

Does the USA have an unemployment problem? Or does it have an immigration problem? Did you know that during the Great Recession we brought in record numbers of immigrants? Take a look at this chart (click to enlarge):

USA Immigration by Decade

That’s right. Even when the unemployment rate went over 11% in 2009, immigration kept on going full steam ahead. The 10-year moving average stands at an all time high, as you can see on this chart:

Note: The first chart goes through 2009 since that’s when the decade ended. The second chart goes through 2010.

These numbers are not insubstantial in relation to unemployment. We have 13.1 million people unemployed now (FRED LNU03000000). If we had merely been running immigration at our historical average of 400,000 per year over the last two or three decades, unemployment wouldn’t even be an issue now.

Now, look back at the first chart. Look at the “1930” bar. It’s almost the smallest in history, right? During the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration shut down immigration. It was just common sense; we didn’t have jobs for new people.

Why didn’t President Bush have that same common sense in 2008? And what’s President Obama’s excuse now?

Answer: during the 1930s, the USA was a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. And today we are a nation of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.

Corporate profits benefit from mass immigration because the increased supply of labor drives down business “costs” – a.k.a. your paycheck.

Now, look at the decades when the mighty American Middle Class rose to power: the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were periods of low immigration. That isn’t a coincidence. Whether or not this nation has a middle class is a policy choice. Back then, we deliberately created a middle class beginning with the 1944 GI Bill.

Today, we have thrown the process in reverse. The vast wealth of the middle class is being converted into corporate profits via mass immigration, and wide-open free trade with low-wage nations that sucks entire industries out of the USA.

If the history books of the future are not written by corporate lobbyists (like our laws are today), the Great Recession will be recorded as the greatest betrayal of the American people in history.

2 thoughts on “Immigration Armageddon

  1. Matt, now add to the legal immigration numbers the number of illegal immigrants in the country. This probably doubles the last decade’s number to beyond 20 million! And yet, existing and would be politicians (the ones who have the power to make fundamental changes to improve the unemployment situation) cry “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and do nothing. The truth is amazing. Thanks for your posts.

  2. Steve,

    And it is also amazing that charts like the ones I have made are not all over the media. There’s lots of talk, but virtually no presentation of the actual data. It’s like offshoring; a hugely destructive economic force that is studiously ignored by the media.


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