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President Obama's re-election chances dim as immigration continues

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Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2009 12:00 am

If I were President Barack Obama's advisor, I would tell him that after only 10 months in office, his reelection prospects are fading.

Obama's campaign rhetoric, especially about creating five million jobs, got him to the White House. But his aimless Jobs Summit, with all of its empty words and unfulfilled promises, doesn't fool anyone. Ominously, the summit excluded critics.

Since Obama took office in January, unemployment has steadily risen from 7.6 to its current level of 10.2 percent. The Federal Reserve predicts that the rate will stay above 8 percent until 2012, a level once considered disastrous. Accordingly, now is the time for action — not posturing.

Obama's easiest way out of his employment crisis may be the hardest for him: Effective immediately, Congress must impose an immigration moratorium.

Incredibly, despite the shocking statistic that nearly 16 million Americans are jobless, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledges that the federal government issues 75,000 permanent work permits a month to foreign-born nationals.

Annualized, that's more than one million foreign-born people arriving in the United States to compete with unemployed Americans for scarce jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that in October alone, Americans lost 190,000 jobs. Yet in October, 75,000 foreign-born people received permanent work permits to directly compete with Americans for jobs. This is an outrage of such magnitude that it defies description.

Despite the recession, more than 100,000 legal immigrants enter the country every month. They come from winning diversity lottery spots or through chain migration. Many immediately seek employment.

As recently as last spring, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, eight million illegal aliens held jobs. Only four percent of them were in agriculture.

USA Today reported that the situation is so grave that unemployed Americans turn up in large numbers at day labor centers. Observers calculate that American-born workers at job centers formerly frequented by illegal aliens have doubled during the last two years.

At the Jobs Summit, Obama heard solutions that will cost billions but have no assurance of success.

The Economic Policy Institute recommends spending $120 billion over three years.

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recommends a multi-billion dollar jobs program similar to the ones in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

Here are more statistics to consider: Last month, Obama's administration claimed that 640,000 jobs were saved or created by his $787 billion stimulus program. Many feel the estimate is inflated. Even if it isn't, that works out to a $1.2 million cost to taxpayers per job. And the announcement didn't mention that more than seven million people have lost jobs since the start of the December 2007 recession.

Under the administration's irresponsible immigration policy, many of those jobs created could have gone to foreign-born workers. Think of it: billions of stimulus dollars spent that might mean employment for immigrants.

Under my immigration moratorium solution, however, job creation would cost zero. Not one dime of your tax dollars would be needed to put Americans back to work.

If you're in the job market today, your prospects are terrible. There are six times as many Americans seeking work as there are openings. The average duration of unemployment is more than six months, the highest level since the 1930s.

An immigration moratorium is such an obvious beginning for putting Americans back to work that you might wonder why it isn't a top priority.

An answer: Federal immigration policy is on auto-pilot. No matter what the economic or social considerations may be, immigration grinds on.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. Contact him at guzzjoe@

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