New Report Debunks Claim that Immigrants Are Needed To Do Jobs Americans Won’t


Claims that immigrants are needed to do the jobs Americans won’t do doesn’t hold up, according to a report released Sunday.

One of the key findings from a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report, “There Are No Jobs Americans Won’t Do,” was six out of 474 occupations were made up of majority illegal and legal immigrants. Illegal immigrants, however, did not make up a majority for any one of the occupations defined by the Department of Commerce.

“Because the American economy is so dynamic, with many factors impacting employment and wages, it would be a mistake to believe that every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native,” the authors of the analysis wrote. “It would also be a mistake, however, to assume that dramatically increasing the number of available workers in high-immigrant occupations has no impact on the employment prospects or wages of natives.”

Jobs thought to be dominated by immigrants, however, were heavily worked by native-born Americans, according to the CIS report. Over 50 percent of taxi drivers, 65 percent of construction laborers and 73 percent janitors were born in the U.S.

“Many of the jobs occupied by undocumented workers in the United States are physically demanding jobs that Americans do not want, such as gutting fish or work on farm fields,” according to a Brookings Institution study in 2017.

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“In recent research conducted by the Cornell Farmworker Program, 30 New York dairy farmers told us they turned to undocumented workers because they were unable to find and keep reliable U.S. citizens to do the jobs,” Cornell Farmworker Program Director Mary Jo Dudley wrote on June 25. “That’s in part because farm work can be physically demanding, dirty and socially denigrated work.”

The Brookings Institution is a public policy think tank and the Cornell Farmworker Program focuses on research, extension outreach and education efforts to assess farm workers’ needs

Occupations comprised of 25 percent or more immigrants were lower-skilled, however, exceptions included software engineers and physicians, according to the CIS report. Natives generally had high unemployment rates in high-immigrant jobs, with 1.8 million Americans unemployed.

Illegal immigrants made up a large portion of agricultural jobs, however, agricultural workers were less than 1 percent of the U.S. workforce.

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Americans with less education would feel the negative impacts of illegal immigration on employment opportunities because Americans with more education tend to avoid competing with illegal immigrants, the report said.

“Assertions by employers that it is impossible to hire Americans should therefore be treated skeptically,” the study said, adding that 42 million natives were not employed. A large number of Americans, additionally, did “immigrant jobs.”

The report comes during a time when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made a growing number of worksite-related arrests surrounding immigration violations between Oct. 1, 2017 to May 4, according to ICE statistics. Criminal arrests surged in the current fiscal year with 594 worksite related arrests as opposed to the 2017 fiscal year when 139 criminal arrests were made.

The CIS report observed 7.6 million people in the civilian, non-institutionalized labor force from 2012 to 2016. Around 1.1 million immigrants, illegal and legal, were part of the over 7 million workers. The study included naturalized citizens, green card holders, illegal aliens, temporary visa recipients and guest workers. Those born to American parents outside of the U.S. and on American territories were not included in the study.

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