Unilateral Amnesty Scheme Could Impact the Most Vulnerable Americans

By Steven A. Camarota on November 21, 2014

President Obama's executive amnesty announced this week may well come at the expense of the most vulnerable and poorest American workers. Once given work authorization, illegal immigrants are likely to compete with Americans for better-paying jobs that are now generally off-limits because they require background checks and valid Social Security numbers. Such jobs include: security guards, screeners, janitors, grounds keepers and clerks employed in the public sector, as well as most jobs associated with interstate transport and delivery.

The president does not seem to have given any consideration to the abysmal employment picture for less-educated Americans, people who will now face increased competition for the dwindling number of relatively well-paying jobs that are available to them.

The employment situation in the 3rd Quarter of 2014:

  • Only 45 percent of adult American citizens (native-born and naturalized), age 18 to 65, without a high school education are working.

  • Only 65 percent of citizens, age 18 to 65, with just a high school education are working.

  • For less-educated U.S.-born blacks the situation is even worse. Only 32 percent, age 18 to 65, without a high school education are working, as are only 56 percent with only a high school education.

  • All of the above figures represent a dramatic deterioration from historical averages. None of these groups have come close to getting back to the share of those working in 2007.

  • In total there were nearly 27 million adult American citizens, age 18 to 65, with no more than high school education not working in the third quarter of 2014.

All of the above data comes from the public use files of the Current Population Survey collected by the government in the third quarter of 2014. The survey is the source of unemployment and labor market statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.