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Immigration Reform: The Missing Piece of the CSR Puzzle

3p Contributor | Friday September 16th, 2011 | 7 Comments

By Leah Durant

The sequence of events in September has revealed a troubling downturn in the US workforce and economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded on Friday, September 2 that zero jobs were created during the month of August. On Thursday, September 8, President Obama unveiled the American Jobs Act, a bill proposed to extend payroll tax cuts and increase spending to maintain global competitiveness. On Friday, September 9, reports leaked that Bank of America could layoff 10 to 14 percent of its current staff—estimates range from 28,000 to 40,000 workers.

The number of unemployed persons has hovered around 9.1 percent during the past few months.  Approximately 14 million Americans are unemployed. As companies like Bank of America continue to perform mass layoffs, it becomes even more likely that number will increase.

The economy has been in a state of malaise for over three years and neither the administration nor Congress has made any inroads with a major job plan.  Corporations and other private industries have been allowed to work within their own interpretations of the law or under the radar. Business Week defines Corporate Social Responsibility as “a way of managing a business by considering the impact of activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment.” Corporations, unfortunately, have not lived up to these expectations and instead have focused almost exclusively on earning greater profits.

Wages and salaries accounted for just 1 percent of economic growth in the first 18 months after economists declared that the recession had ended in June 2009, according to Northeastern University researchers. Corporate profits, by contrast, accounted for an unprecedented 88 percent of economic growth during those first 18 months. That’s compared with 53 percent after the 2001 recession, nothing after the 1991-92 recession and 28 percent after the 1981-82 recession.

Although many major corporations have racked huge profits during this economic period, many have resisted in investing in E-verify technology to aid workplace enforcement and have continually sought to increase visa applications for foreign workers. Nationally, 250,000 businesses are using E-Verify, the program that quickly validates the legality of workers, and each week another 1,300 businesses sign up for the system. However, many top corporations have invested millions in lobbying fees to defeat E-Verify legislation at the state level.  Recently, California’s State Senate passed AB 1236, which would prohibit counties and local municipalities in the state from requiring businesses to use E-Verify.

Some major corporations have even been implicated in hiring scores of illegal immigrants.   Last February, the fast food chain Chipotle fired hundreds of workers in Minnesota after a probe by immigration authorities revealed that the chain was likely hiring illegal aliens in fifty of its stores in the state. Chipotle’s share price has skyrocketed to more than five times its price in 2006, and the company planned to open 135 stores this year.  Obviously, business is booming but the company opted to save a few dollars by funneling in illegal labor rather than respecting the corporate code of conduct and US immigration laws.

Also, recent research has uncovered a major correlation between immigration and high unemployment rates.  Data released by the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that the illegal immigration population in the US hovers between 12 to 20 million.  A 2006 report by Catholic Online analyzed these demographics and noted that 37.5 percent of the then-estimated 20 million illegal immigrants were children, meaning 62.5 percent were adults. If one takes the 20 million figure to be accurate, there are likely 12 million adult aliens residing in the US illegally today, many of which currently occupy jobs and subsequently drive struggling Americans out of work.

Most importantly, there is also evidence that the presence of large numbers of both legal and illegal immigrant workers drives down average wages for US-born residents.  In recent studies Harvard academics George Borjas and Lawrence Katz found that this negative effect on wages is particularly pronounced for US-born Americans who lack a high school education.  Their 2005 study found that immigration from the 1980 to 2000 period reduced the earnings of native high school dropouts by as much as eight percent and other demographic groups by 2 to 4 percent.

A number of factors will continue to adversely impact the US workforce and economy; including, average wage reductions, continued outsourcing, and overpopulation. Comprehensive immigration reform would address workforce related issues, but US based corporations who prize themselves on incorporating a sense of service, responsibility, and commitment should reconsider the commitment they have to their American workforce.

[Image Credit: Anuska Sampedro, Flickr]

Leah Durant is Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform, a non-profit organization seeking to educate the public on the unintended consequences of mass migration through research, advocacy and engagement. PFIR favors immigration policies that consider the effects of policy on population size and growth, working conditions and wages of both immigrants and native born workers, and the environment.


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  • Dave Francis

    PASS MANDATORY E-VERIFY.

    The American worker, families and communities face a common problem today. It’s estimated between 13 and 20 million plus currently has settled and work in our nation unlawfully. The majorities are–ECONOMIC–and don’t pay local, state, Federal taxes and yet demand privileges meant for US citizens and legal residents, placing a massive yoke around government welfare and bleed this recessions sources of revenue. American’s can no longer pay to subsidize the illegal immigrants, with the taxpayer’s $113 Billion dollars and-up annually. Let alone 2.5 Trillion dollars to process the government estimated 11.5 million aliens that live here. (Heritage foundation & Pew Hispanic Research Center)

    These illegal offenders, who come here, leave no paper trail of foreign criminal convictions. Most have families, many legal that hide their relations in plain sight. They bring their children or birth them here attending public schools by law, adding to overcrowded classrooms and diverting scarce education money. Time is not on America’s side, as the borders remain porous and hundreds of miles of ancient barbed wire fences, open lake areas, rivers–which the US Agents thinly roam trying to courageously stop drug cartels, criminal cargo and the endless tracks of foreign nationals.

    I don’t think any American is opposed to legal immigration, As all of us, one time or the other came across the Atlantic or crossed borders. But illegal immigrant invaders are something entirely wrong, that treads on our “rule of law” and the prime directives of the U.S. Constitution. America is a nation of laws, which we abide by. Illegal aliens want all the rights of the legal population, but scorn our laws and then have the audacity to demonstrate in our streets. This is just not right, with most ignoring our people’s common bond to respect our laws. They do neither! Unlike the 19th century immigrants they come here expecting to be monetary taken care of, wish not to learn our language or to assimilate into American society.

    However, the open border tyranny has a different agenda. The Obama government has used executive directives, making it possible for illegal aliens to settle in this nation. Last month President Obama issued an executive order to bypass the Congress, establishing new ICE priorities relating to deportations. This event has led an easier path for illegal nationals to remain in this country, being able to apply for a work permit. Even though the American public and refusal of Congress to approve of any new amnesty, the administration has created a back door entry for these people.

    Many honest lawmakers signed a letter to President Obama and executive members of the staff, protesting this action. In other words this Administration has stonewalled the Congress, which is the only avenue that an amnesty may be passed into law.

    A mandatory E-Verify vote is coming up for a vote this week and every American is frustrated and irate about Obama’s executive order should contact his representative in Washington insisting they pass Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas “The Legal Workforce Act” (H.R. 2885). This is about saving jobs for working Americans, being stolen by illegal alien labor.

    In her opening statement on yesterday, Rep. Linda Sanchez described E-Verify as broken.

    “The system is riddled with errors and doesn’t work. It doesn’t flag the workers it’s supposed to flag, and it snags too many citizens and legal workers in its net. The job market is tough enough. It makes no sense for Congress to pass a law that makes it more difficult for legal workers to find work.”

    Why are the pro-amnesty groups so scared of Chairman Smith’s bill? Because they know it would take away any leverage they have for passing a mass amnesty, and more importantly, it would successfully remove illegal aliens from the workforce.

    Further there is the HALT Act (Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation) bill. This bill would prevent USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) and ICE from granting parole for illegal aliens who are convicted of a crime and other actions, including reversing the administration’s recent executive directive authorizing the cancellation of the removal of illegal aliens from our country. The simple explanation of the “HALT” act is to stop the present government from circumventing the Congress on deportation and other immigration laws, so ICE can carry out their duties.

    If the people of America wish to change the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act, so be it–with their votes. But the laws were regulated to place detainers on illegal aliens and then deport them, for violating the United States laws. Only President Obama has ignored Congress and changed our laws by fiat. Showing complete indifference to our laws and living inside state borders, has gone too far. Even worse are the oaths our president, his men and women sworn to protect us from enemies domestic and foreign have chosen to ignore the American people’s voices.

    Before Obama and back three decades, the US government has overreached their empowerment, as we have witnessed in courts as activist judges have followed their own agendas. Immigration is no longer a lesser of issues, as it has influenced both the jobs of thousands of US workers and this economy. The “HALT” act, E-Verify, 287 G and “Secure Communities” are the sane way, for the illegal aliens to begin an exodus from this country. Another sure system is for the government to issue every American with an official ID. These policing laws would eventually make it near impossible, for illegal aliens to stay here, without fear of detection.

    As Americans you should expect nothing more or less, from any politician. If the Liberals, Democrats or even the Republicans will not enforce Immigration laws, it’s for sure TEA PARTY leaders will.

    If you suspect that competition is using an illegal workforce, contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (866-347-2423).According to one of our members who spoke with an ICE agent, “the mere ‘suspicion’ that a company’s employees are illegal aliens is all that is necessary to make the call to commence an investigation.” He added, “Law enforcement organizations cannot, and do not, expect the public to be experts in determining whether someone is committing a crime, so they provide a safe harbor approach to informing.” Whistle Blowers are very welcome who see irregularities at their workplace. Much evidence is available at NumbersUSA, less available news stories at American Patrol and the corruption spawned in our government at Judicial Watch. Otherwise call your local Representative, insisting they vote for Rep. Lamar Smith’s Judiciary Committee, who can be reached through the Washington Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to make E-Verify a mandatory law for work, to save US jobs from illegal alien competition.

    TELL YOUR SENATOR, THEY MIGHT HAVE THE POWER—BUT YOU HAVE THE VOTE? YOU MIGHT ALSO ASK THEM, WHY ILLEGAL ENTRY IS NOT A FELONY?

    You are far from being a lone voice on the issue of illegal immigration. The TEA PARTY is the massive impetus that will resolve this problem that is feeding off the US taxpayer. The TEA PARTY is just average Americans, out to protect their interests, unlike the current government who are out to pacify illegal foreigners. The governments seem to condone illegal activities, as did the previous administration as a reward for business owners. The TEA PARTY will enforce the 1986 Immigration law, with no Path to Citizenship, No Amnesty, No Dream Act and no Sanctuary city or State policies. The front door or you will be deported or imprisoned.

    ATTN: CALL YOU SENATOR AND HOUSE CONGRESSMAN, TO DUMP THE PRESENT UNFAIR TAX CODE AND PLUG ALL THE LOOPHOLES FOR THE RICH, BIG OIL AND INSIST EVERYBODY PAYS. NO EXCEPTIONS!

  • Agent of Chaos

    The reason Rep. Linda Sanchez and others don’t like E-verify is because it works better than they want. With over 90% initial accuracy rate and any false negatives can be cleared up within a few days (very few take longer than that). So the only ones that have anything to worry about is those trying to get employment fraudulently.

  • justme

    Blaming illegals for lack of jobs is out of line. The fact is, american corporations would do anything to save money. If cheap, illegal labor was not available they would just shift their operations offshore.
    In order to curb illegal immigration it’s necessary to open legal avenues for people to come here.
    Immigrants come here to work, not to milk the system.

  • Julie Graham

    I am surprised to find this article on 3p. It has a glaring anti-immigration slant and I question what drives the interest of such sources as “Catholic Online and “Progressives for Immigration Reform”. Allowing a route for the undocumented to be lawfully employed in the U.S. would yield significant financial gains for the U.S. economy. According to a report in the WSJ, (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204409904574350541813512588.html), The “Enforcement Only” approach, or, trying to round up and rid illegals, yields only a TREMENDOUS economic loss.

  • E

    This is extremely worrying to find such an article on a site dedicated to CSR. We are in a global economy and protectionism will only put US away from the market. Immigrants often take jobs that no US citizen would take. IS citizen buy imported goods. Etc.
    3P you should avoid doing politics, even more this type of politics!

  • Bea

    How shameful to beat up on immigrants when it is politicians and bureaucrats who cheat American workers of jobs. Every licensing law keeps thousands of people out of work — by design: established workers hate the competition newcomers provide. Ditto for minimum-wage laws that deprive entry-level workers of jobs since the govt’s mandated wage costs the employer more than the position is worth.

    Get rid of govt’s restrictions on employment, and there’d be plenty of jobs. Meantime, stop blaming immigrants for the State’s evil.

  • Interesting

    I think this article is perfect for 3P. We want to make sure that people look at CSR from all aspects.

    It shouldn’t be a partisan or ideological matter, where only one side can discuss the issues. This is an open forum and this post doesn’t attack immigration, it simply takes an analytic look at the effects of it among corporations and their American employees.