national legislation

Immigrants’ Job Picture Brighter Under Obama Than For the Native Born

Under the Obama Administration, immigrants have fared better at finding jobs than the native born. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicate that as of August 2012, over 1.7 million immigrants found jobs during Obama’s term while only 418,000 native-born Americans did.

According to the BLS’ monthly household survey, immigrants garnered about three out of every four jobs added since January 2009 even though they are only one-sixth of the workforce. Between August 2011 and August 2012, immigrants won one out of every three newly-added jobs. During that period, native-born Americans gained 1.436 million new jobs, while immigrants acquired 788,000.

A separate BLS survey of employers indicates that immigrant job gains essentially equaled the number of new jobs added to economy since January 2009. Steven Camarota from the Center for Immigration Studies found that there was a net gain of 1.5 million new jobs between January 2009 and August 2012 while 1.5 million immigrants, legal and illegal, short-term and long-term arrived in the United States and found jobs.

The situation could worsen for the native born given the Obama Administration’s decision to grant work permits and deportation amnesty to as many as 1.7 million illegal aliens under the age of 31. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that fifty-eight percent of this group of illegal aliens are already working or seeking work, but having legal access will enable them to compete for a broader range of jobs with citizens, including higher paying ones.

The percentage of working-age Americans with jobs dropped from 60.6 percent in early 2009 to 58.4 percent in August 2012. That means about 3.9 million fewer working-age Americans are in the workforce. They are not included in unemployment numbers because they are no longer seeking work.

According to BLS, there are about 23 million unemployed and underemployed Americans now while about 8 million illegal aliens and another 16 million foreign-born immigrants hold jobs.

Destination Washington D.C.

OFIR's President will travel to Washington D.C. to attend two conferences.  There will be numerous opportunities to meet and network with people from all over the country interested in stopping illegal immigration.  A summary of conference events will be posted on the website upon her return.

Phony Farm Labor Shortage: We Need to Talk About It

A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that despite all the talk of a farm labor shortage last summer, American farms had an amazingly profitable year.

Net cash income rose from the record high in 2010 of $99.4 billion to a new record high of $134.7 billion. That’s an eye-popping 35.5 percent profit growth! (Read more:More Data on The Phony Farm Labor Crisis)

I pointed out that in some of the states that had been repeatedly said to be facing a labor shortage—California and Washington, for example—profit growth was even higher. Washington farms saw profits grow by 58 percent, for goodness' sakes.

Yet somehow the myth of a farm labor shortage persists.

I received countless emails arguing that in one way or another, I had missed the orchard for the trees. Folks insist that despite record profitability, there remains a labor shortage.

And, of course, there are now dire predictions that the farm labor shortage of 2011 (which never happened) will be even worse in 2012. My colleague Jane Wells recently reported that the Western Growers Association claims its members are reporting a 20 percent drop in laborers this year. (Read more: California Farm Labor Shortage 'Worst It's Ever Been')

Let’s begin by conceding the idea that the members of the WGA are facing a sharp drop in laborers. Does this imply there is a “labor shortage"?

It certainly implies a labor reduction, but in order for it to count as a “shortage” shouldn’t that mean that work isn’t getting done or is becoming too expensive? Alternatively, shouldn’t it mean that it is creating food shortages of some sort or damaging the financial health of farmers?

To put it differently, if fruit is rotting on the vine, how do we explain these outsize farm profits? Are the farmers merely complaining that they could have been even more profitable if they had more laborers?

Let’s say that’s the case. Suppose California farmers, who saw a 45 percent profit rise last year, would have been even more profitable if they had more laborers available to them. It’s impossible to see why this should be a public policy concern.

One way to test if there is a labor shortage on farms would be to look at the labor cost. If farms were truly struggling to find enough workers, their labor costs would be skyrocketing. But that isn’t what’s happening.

The costs of workers hired directly by the farms didn’t grow at all between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest data from the Department of Agriculture. It contracted 3.8 percent, from $23.5 billion to $22.6 billion. Next year it is forecast by the Department of Agriculture to shrink by another 2.1 percent. In light of the rising revenues and profits of farms, this is not a labor market experiencing a worker shortage.

What’s more, the total cost of hired labor on farms nationwide is still below pre-crisis levels, while farm profits are well above pre-crisis levels. This implies that far from farms seeing a labor shortage, there’s something of a farm labor glut going on.

In California last year, despite all the talk of a farm labor shortage, hired labor costs dropped from $6.2 billion to $5.4 billion—a 12 percent fall. This isn’t what happens in a labor shortage.

There has been some wage inflation in a far smaller segment of the farm labor market: the contract labor market. This is the market for workers employed by third-party operators who supply labor to farmers, mostly for seasonal work such as harvesting.

Farms nationwide saw contract labor costs rise from 3.9 billion in 2010 to 4.5 billion in 2011, a rise of 15 percent. That might put some farmers off a bit, having to pay the guy supplying workers 15 percent more. But revenues were rising even faster, which is why profits grew so explosively.

In California, contract labor costs grew 19 percent. While that seems astounding, it growth pales in comparison with the growth of profits at California farms. There may be fewer laborers than farmers would like, but this isn’t a crisis by any means. The farm owners are doing quite well for themselves and shouldn't be shocked that the migrant laborers are also demanding to share in the bounty.

It’s just basic economics. The overall cost of labor on farms is falling. The cost of seasonal labor is rising but at a rate far less than revenues. That implies that supply of labor is outstripping demand. Which is to say, farmers may be screaming about labor shortages but their checkbooks are telling a very different story.

Philomath man pleads guilty in double murder

A 22-year-old Philomath man pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of aggravated murder in the 2011 killings of his girlfriend and their infant child.

Gustavo David Martinez-Aquepucho faces two potential life sentences in the deaths of Kelsey Rozetta Baker, 19, and their 1-year-old son, Theo, on April 29 of last year.

Martinez-Aquepucho, in shackles and black-and-white-striped jail uniform, sat silently in a Corvallis courtroom with about 20 people looking on while prosecutors and defense attorneys met behind closed doors.

After several minutes of deliberation, the prosecution and defense teams entered the courtroom, followed by Benton County Circuit Judge Janet Holcomb. She read aloud the two counts that Martinez-Aquepucho was charged with as part of a plea agreement. After he said he understood the charges, Martinez-Aquepucho pleaded guilty to both.

Martinez-Aquepucho and Baker were both students at Oregon State University. They met several years ago at Philomath High School, where Martinez-Aquepucho was an exchange student from Peru.

According to statements introduced during an earlier hearing, the two had been estranged and Baker, who had refused to reconcile with Martinez-Aquepucho, had been seeing another man prior to the killings.

The defendant reportedly told authorities that he drugged Baker and Theo with cold medicine and then slit their throats with a knife. He then cut his own wrists in a suicide attempt, saying he wanted to be with them in the afterlife.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Martinez-Aquepucho must serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Holcomb set sentencing for 9 a.m. on Dec. 10, scheduling up to a week for the hearing.

According to Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson, the hearing will determine whether Martinez-Aquepucho will serve the sentence for each count consecutively or concurrently.

Haroldson said the state will argue that the sentences should be served consecutively.

“We just shifted from proving what happened to now looking at establishing what should happen,” Haroldson said. “Where one is looking at the past, the other is looking to the future.”

Due to the guilty pleas, the court will not consider the death penalty.

Martinez-Aquepucho is represented by attorneys Mark Sabitt and Dan Koenig.

 

Friday, September 7, 5th Congressional District Debate

Alert date: 
September 5, 2012
Alert body: 

-Election 2012-

5th Congressional District Debate:   Lugo, Schrader and Thompson

Salem City Club is pleased to host a debate between the three candidates seeking to represent Oregon's 5th congressional district in U.S. House of Representatives. Join us on Friday, September 7 at noon when we open our 45th season with this dynamic program. Congressional District 5 encompasses Tillamook, Lincoln, Polk, Marion, and Clackamas counties, rural, metro, coastal, and suburban neighborhoods.

For more information please visit the Salem City club website.

NOTE:  Incumbent Kurt Schrader has a D grade on immigration issues according to NumbersUSA.  Oregon deserves better!

On deporting illegal aliens - Thoughts of a retired Border Patrol agent

One of the original intentions of immigration law, and the effort to locate and remove those illegally in our country, was the concern for displacement of American employees. It was considered somewhat the acid test. If American employees were being set aside, the offending illegals were arrested and deported. At some juncture in the recent past, that concept was apparently pitched out the window. The big conundrum is not so much that it happened, but rather why did it happen. It's the product of a frightening political shift that is totally incomprehensible to anyone other than those who seek reelection. It's also bi-partisan. It has to stop, and we have to return to rational thinking.

Depending on whose estimates one uses, we have nearly as many illegals employed as we do legal residents and citizens out of work. Certainly more than 50 percent. That quite simply has to stop.

That we cannot deport such huge numbers, and therefore must create a method through which illegals can remain, is pure political bunk. How do we deport them? In earnest. We start with number one, and we work our way up the ladder. We streamline the processing, and remove administrative road-blocks. When I was first in the Border Patrol, we were led to believe that there was a time when processing an illegal was nothing more than a 3x5 hand written card; probably during Operation Wet Back. Today, the same thing can be done, but on a computerized system. Prints can be digitally checked, and repeat offenders can get their due. Yes, it can be done, and it must be done. All, however, is contingent on a relatively well-sealed border. That's the first order of the day.

Hasta La Vista,

Gary Fossen,

Jacksonville, Oregon


 

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