“There are many Americans at every educational and skill level who find it difficult in the job market today. But the greatest struggles, poverty and hopelessness fall on the less-educated members of our society. Around 42 million Americans with no college education are lucky enough to have jobs. But during three decades of too many workers chasing too few jobs, the real wages for their jobs have fallen by nearly 20%. As long as the country is awash with too many workers, the trend is likely to continue and more and more people who work 40 hours a week will fall out of the middle class.
“The present is even more bleak for around 22 million less-educated Americans between 18 and 65 who are not in the work force at all anymore. Many of them left for legitimate reasons... but most out of discouragement and despair.”
We do not believe these less-educated Americans and their families are in any way failing to show Christian virtue by opposing Congress adding tens of millions of competitors for their jobs and wages.
“Most of the attention on S. 744 has been on its offering a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 (45?) million unlawfully present aliens,” said Beck. “But besides giving those 11 (45?) million work permits, the bill also would offer additional work permits to bring 22 (80?) million more immigrants from other countries in the first decade.
“In all, the bill offers 33 (more than 100?) million new lifetime work permits to foreign citizens in the first decade after passage of the bill and offers between 16 and 25 million each decade after that. That is in contrast to the 11 million per decade recently and to the only 3-4 million per decade that was the average before corporate lobbyists persuaded Congress to adopt an Immigration Surge in 1990 to combat fears of a coming labor shortage.”
Every one of these new foreign workers under this bill would be competing in the job search with the 20 million Americans already in line.
“This line of 20 million contains a large portion of the most vulnerable members of our national community -- disproportionately, they are Black and Hispanic Americans, or are disabled, or veterans, or former prisoners, or young adults.
“We believe these are The Forgotten in all the public discussion about setting responsible immigration policies. It is particularly incumbent on those of us Christians who are financially on more solid footing to be a voice for the concerns of these people who are rarely referenced by media, religious or political leaders in the immigration debates.”
SURVEYS; WHAT AMERICAN CHRISTIANS THINK ABOUT ADDING COMPETITION FOR UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS:
“The bulk of S. 744 is about addressing industry lobbyists' claims of impending labor shortages for both low and high skilled workers,” said Beck. “The sponsors of the bill repeatedly argue the need for more workers. Although parts of the bill deal with specific kinds of workers, most people getting green cards will do so without any regard for their skills or education, meaning they would be expected to compete throughout the job market.”
Pulse Opinion Research conducted a national poll on May 20. Its findings were consistent with nearly 30 other polls it had conducted in the previous two months.
“Its findings may be helpful in seeing how American Christians set their moral priorities,” said Beck. “As with all polls, the answers can tell one only so much about the complex opinions that people hold, and the answers are shaped by the wording of questions and the context in which they are asked. The Pulse Opinion polling set a context by asking U.S. likely voters about their optimism concerning the near-term job prospects of the 20 million Americans who can't find a full-time job.”
Respondents were then asked: "Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that the United States is faced with labor shortages and needs more immigrant workers?"
CATHOLICS: Agree (25%), Disagree (65%), Not sure (15%)
EVANGELICALS: Agree (22%), Disagree (63%), Not sure (15%)
PROTESTANTS: Agree (17%), Disagree (75%), Not sure (8%)
The intensity of opinions was even more pronounced:
CATHOLICS: 10% vs. 35% (STRONGLY Agree vs. STRONGLY Disagree)
EVANGELICALS: 7% vs. 42%
PROTESTANTS: 6% vs. 32%
The poll did find many Christians responding to a moral appeal for leniency to current residents who have broken immigration laws;
They were asked: "How much moral responsibility do you feel Congress has to help protect the ability of current illegal immigrants to hold a job and support their families without fear of deportation: a lot, some, very little or none?"
CATHOLICS: 24% (A lot), 30% (Some), 22% (Very little), 22% (None), 5% (not sure)
EVANGELICALS: 11% (A lot), 23% (Some), 29% (Very little), 26% (None), 10% (not sure)
PROTESTANTS: 17% (A lot), 27% (Some), 30% (Very little), 23% (None), 3% (not sure)
Given three choices for dealing with the illegal population, two-thirds or more of each group rejected deportation. But around two-thirds overall also rejected letting them have work permits.
CHOICE 1: Deport most -- 24% (Cath.), 39% (Evan.), 29% (Prot.)
CHOICE 2: Don't deport but no work permits -- 29% (Cath.), 33% (Evan.), 22% (Prot)
CHOICE 3: Give work permits & legalization -- 39% (Cath.), 13% (Evan.), 39% (Prot)
Respondents were asked: "How much moral responsibility do you feel Congress has to help protect unemployed or low-wage Americans from having to compete with foreign workers for U.S. jobs: A lot, some, very little or none?"
CATHOLICS: 58% (A lot), 23% (Some), 13% (Very little), 6% (None), 0% (not sure)
EVANGELICALS: 48% (A lot), 17% (Some), 17% (Very little), 9% (None), 9% (not sure)
PROTESTANTS: 45% (A lot), 34% (Some), 14% (Very little), 5% (None), 2% (not sure)
Respondents were asked: "Do you believe less-educated illegal immigrants compete with less-educated Americans for construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service jobs?"
CATHOLICS: 67% (YES), 20% (NO), 13% (not sure)
EVANGELICALS: 66% (YES), 17% (NO), 17% (not sure)
PROTESTANTS: 65% (YES), 23% (NO), 12% (not sure)
In the end, each of us must ask this question: can our civilization sustain the projected 100 million immigrants imported into this country within the next 37 years? Will we be able to maintain water, food, energy and resources? Will we be able to sustain our standard of living and quality of life? Simple answer: no!
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