A new study has found that new arrivals to North Carolina and the United States have been enjoying the most success in landing jobs in The Tar Heel State. The Center for Immigration Studies says the net job growth within our state since 2000 has gone entirely to immigrants — both legal and illegal:
[…] According to the limited immigration group, while the “native” working age (16-65 years old) North Carolina population has increased by 61 percent since 2000, the share of “natives” in that state’s work force has declined.
“The total number of working-age (16 to 65) immigrants (legal and illegal) holding a job in North Carolina increased by 313,000 from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2014, while the number of working-age natives with a job declined by 32,000 over the same time,” the report reads, explaining that in the past 14 years has seen the labor-force participation of natives in North Carolina in decline.
The study comes as North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan — who voted for the Senate-passed “Gang of Eight” immigration bill last summer that would have provided a path to legalization to the undocumented population and significantly increased the number of guest workers in the United States — is engaged in a tight re-election bid against Republican challenger Thom Tillis.
“A huge number of working-age people in North Carolina are not working, and labor force participation remains at record lows. Thus, it is remarkable that any of the state’s political leaders would support legislation that would actually increase the number of foreign workers allowed into the country,” Steven Camarota, CIS’s head of research and the report’s lead author, said in a statement. […]
Why isn’t Tillis beating her over the head with this? Well, let’s look back at one of our posts from December, 2013:
It looks as if some big donors are calling in some chits with the Tillis for Senate campaign. Speaker Thom appeared before the NC Farm Bureau Monday to urge DC and Raleigh to get moving on “comprehensive immigration reform” and “a pathway to citizenship.”:
The Farm Bureau came out in support of the immigration bill the U.S. Senate passed earlier this year. The bill would include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, stronger border security, better entry-exit records to make it harder for people to overstay visas, and a verification system for employers.
When the Senate voted in June, Hagan was for it. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, voted against it. The U.S. House of Representatives has declined to take up the Senate’s comprehensive approach, however.
Tillis at the time said he probably would have voted “No” along with the majority of Senate Republicans, but that he didn’t know enough about it to say for sure.
The state House under his leadership has failed to pass comprehensive immigration bills.
But Tillis told the Farm Bureau that the next legislation session should focus more attention on immigration reform. That would be an unusual move in a short session, when controversial topics generally aren’t on the agenda.
Tillis invited Farm Bureau members to “give us some ideas of more things we need to do around immigration policy and help me communicate across this state why effective immigration policy is so critical and so important to this industry.”
He added, according to Democrats who tracked his remarks: “You all know what we need to do. … You go out there and talk about it. Start talking about smart immigration reform. You’re going to help us get out there and actually get it done.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed a state bill that triples the period in which seasonal workers do not have to have their immigration status checked in the federal E-Verify system. But the legislature overrode the veto.
Tillis told the Farm Bureau that the override was the right thing to do.
“I felt very strongly that was the policy that you all needed help on and relief on and I’m glad that my House members and my Senate colleagues agree,” he said.
That’s a special kind of talent to brand yourself as a “conservative,” and then get to the left of Pat McCrory on immigration.
CIS gives us a few more facts to chew on:
-First, the long-term decline in employment for natives in North Carolina and the enormous number of working-age natives not working clearly indicate that there is no general labor shortage in the state. Thus, it is very difficult to justify the large increases in foreign workers (skilled and unskilled) who would be allowed into the country by a bill like S.744 that many of the state’s politicians support.
-Second, North Carolina’s working-age immigrant population grew 146 percent from 2000 to 2014, one of the highest rates of any state in the nation. Yet the number of natives working in 2014 was actually lower than in 2000. This undermines the argument that immigration increases job opportunities for natives.