A new report by a leading Washington think-tank on immigration counters the widely held belief that there are jobs in the United States that only illegal immigrants will do, according to an advance copy of the study provided to Newsmax.
conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies — using data from the U.S. Census Bureau from 2009 to 2011 — analyzed 472 separate occupations and found that there are no job sectors in which the majority of workers are illegally in the country.
“It is not correct to argue that there are jobs that Americans won’t do,” Steven Camarota, one of the authors of the report, told Newsmax. “There are no majority illegal-immigrant occupations that I can find.”
The report finds that many of the jobs commonly thought to be overwhelmingly held by immigrants — legal and illegal — are held mostly by native-born Americans.
The majority of jobs in construction, cleaning, maintenance, food service, garment manufacturing, and agriculture are held by U.S.-born workers, contradicting the commonly held belief that there are sectors of jobs that native-born Americans refuse to consider for employment.
In 2004, President George W. Bush said “it makes sense to allow the good-hearted people who are coming here to do jobs that Americans won’t do, a legal way to do so.”
Critics of relaxed immigration laws argue that foreign-born workers are taking jobs that would otherwise go to American citizens. Native-born Americans have high unemployment rates in occupations with a large number of immigrants, averaging 14 percent during 2009-2011, compared to 8 percent for the rest of the labor market, Camarota said.
Illegal immigrants comprise a large share of workers in agriculture, but farm workers are only a tiny share of the total labor force, the report finds. Just 5 percent of all illegal immigrants work in agriculture.
“It’s vitally important to understand that agriculture is almost irrelevant to the immigration debate,” Camarota said. “The vast majority — 95 percent — of illegal immigrants don’t work in agriculture.”
The report notes that not all high-immigrant occupations are lower skilled. For example, 36 percent of software engineers are immigrants, as well as 27 percent of physicians.
The report will be issued as Congress resumes debate after its current weeklong recess. The Senate is currently debating an 844-page comprehensive bill introduced by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers.
To see the study, click here.
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