Dorothy Moon, IDGOP Chairwoman
March 18, 2023
This week, Republicans in the Idaho Legislature advanced a resolution calling upon President Joe Biden, as well as Congress, to grant an amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants pouring across the border and to flood the United States’ labor market with more foreign workers.
An overwhelming majority of Americans consistently express an opinion that immigration levels are already too high. What’s interesting is these Americans drastically undercount actual immigration numbers.
America admits over 180 million legal foreign national admissions every year. Separately, every year, nearly 2 million legal immigrants enter the United States and obtain immediate lawful permanent residence status (“green cards”). That’s right: We admit the equivalent of the metro population of San Jose, California, every single year.
And so-called guest worker visa programs also produce enormous numbers of immigrants every year. The U.S. admits nearly 900,000 guest workers — and some visa programs enable guest workers to bring their dependent family members — every year.
Something lost on many Americans, as well, is that the vast majority of illegal immigrants present in the U.S. come not from unlawful border crossings, but visa overstays. Nearly 65% of America’s growing unlawful immigrant population entered the country legally but then refused to leave as required by the terms of their visa.
Fundamentally, this issue is about what is right and fair for American workers. Everywhere immigrants are relied upon to fill the workforce, domestic worker labor force participation drops dramatically. Everywhere immigrants are relied upon to fill the workforce, domestic worker compensation — including young workers recently graduated from college — drops dramatically. Everywhere immigrants are relied upon to fill the workforce, welfare spending increases.
The irony of Senate Joint Memorial 101 is that it is written by a number of Republicans who claim to be “fiscal” hawks, who work overtime to reduce the size and cost of government and the intrusion of government in the free market. Yet, there’s no greater growth in government than asking for subsidized workers whose terms of employment — including controls on wage rates — are dictated by government. There’s no greater intrusion in the labor market than asking big government to find subsidized workers through visas.
There’s a simple solution to the workforce shortages identified by Idaho Republican legislators. And it doesn’t require Idaho to adopt the liberal policies of California. It’s called the law of supply and demand. If the demand for the supply of labor is higher, workers should be paid more. And, yet, American workers haven’t seen a real wage increase in 40 years.
Ironically, those stagnant wages coincide with the growth of our illegal immigrant population and the explosion of America’s legal guest worker programs. Putting Idaho’s hardworking men and women first means saying no to more illegal immigration.