What America Needs Now — Immigration Reform?

by Daniel Downs

Small business leaders are calling for immigration reform that includes raising the number work visas and paths to citizenship for technically skilled foreigners. According to a recent National Small Business Association survey, forty-six percent of small businesses employ people with STEM training and experience. While only seventeen percent of businesses employ immigrants, they put eighty percent of new hires to work within one week. In other words, small business need STEM trained people prepared for work.

While it makes sense for business and government to make it easier for foreign students being trained in American universities to stay and work in America, no good reason exists for not ensuring that the rising number of underemployed and unemployed citizens become adequately trained for new kinds of work.

According to business leaders and politicians, what America needs now is adequately trained workers to fill STEM related jobs. Do those jobs really exist? The answer is yes and no.

As pointed out in the Washington Post, there exist more supply of Americans with science degrees than demand. The focus of the article was on jobs for physicists, chemists, biologists and the like. Using employment ads, Jonathan Horn shows that most STEM related jobs are in computer science. Most other employment opportunities right now are in sales and health care. In other words, the need for more STEM trained and skilled workers is over-hyped.

However, long-term projections (2020) predict significant increases in demand for biomedical engineers, medical scientists, biochemists, biophysicists, and continuing demand for highly skilled computer professionals, according to Career Builder. Even so, the need for production, sales, and technical service workers will continue to greatly exceed the demand for engineers and lab scientists during the same period.

Let’s get back to today’s reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest employment report shows few jobs are being created and more Americans are no longer able to find work. While there are still 2.8 million fewer jobs than when the recession began, politicians are seeking to fulfill political party agendas for immigration reform. One of those agendas is giving citizenship to 12 million illegal immigrants most of whom work in low-skill and low wage jobs. Politicans making good on campaign promises will enable corporations to hire more skilled foreign workers. As the above projections indicate and the continued hype about Americans lagging behind the world in math and science knowledge or skills, the real need is for adequate resources and training for existing Americans to fulfill the new STEM related jobs as well to start new businesses. As is the case today, the majority of jobs will be in health care, production, sales, and technical services. Workers will require a working knowledge of math, science, medical, technical, product, sales, and/or office operations.

With all of the talk about reform, does America possibly need employment or economic reform? As argued above, changes are needed. The bloated spending to maintain the global empire is crushing the American economy. Increasing taxes to accomplish it further diminishes the economic welfare of most hard working citizens. Economic reform that goes beyond balancing the national budget is needed.

A reform restoring the federal government to its constitutionally stated limits would likely reduce spending and taxation to a sustainable level. This alone would increase the economic prosperity of most Americans.

However, a more serious problem plagues our society. That problem is a moral one. Lying, stealing, cheating are problems in every institution and all levels of society. So is immorality, infidelity, hate, and violence. These moral problems raise the cost of doing business, the cost of products and services, and the cost of government. While hate has been elevated to the pinnacle of national concern, the concern is not about the harm caused by athe forementioned problems, but increasingly towards what is good, moral and self-evidently right. Without a sweeping moral reform, immigration, education, tax, employment, and all other reforms will not produce a better and more prosperous society. They will continue to impoverish and demoralize everyone except the new aristocrats and their regressively progressive agendas.

Government and business ensuring every American is trained and equipped to prosper not only guarantees the required resources to carry out its public service but also perpetuates the common good for all citizens without diminishing the good of a great many. That is one moral principle that must be restored in society and practiced in all of our institutions and especially business and government. The idea that getting a diploma or degree is synonymous with future prosperity is not valid, but proper training and equipping for it is. The same is true about the mantra of new jobs. Such does not equal the common good, but every individual American being able to earn a livable income certainly would be a step toward its fulfillment. Another step requires reforms that end much of our economic dependency on government.

One last question: If the 12 million low-income illegal immigrants become citizens, will it be morally right to let them continue being used by businesses with the help of government welfare subsidies to fulfill low-skilled, low-paying jobs all Americans expect high school drop outs are unwilling to take?

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