by Steven A. Camarota
Center for Immigration Studies
February 13, 2013
Backgrounder
It is difficult to overstate the size of the pool of potential workers that now exists in the United States. If through enforcement a significant fraction of illegal immigrants returned to their home countries rather than being allowed to stay with legal status, there would seem to be an ample supply of idle workers to replace them, particularly workers who have relatively little education. The contention that there is a general labor shortage that has to be satisfied by giving work authorization and/or citizenship to illegal immigrants rather than encouraging them to return to their home countries is entirely inconsistent with the available evidence. Further both the President and the "gang of eight" have proposed increasing legal immigration, including for jobs that require relatively little formal education. Again the data do not support the contention that there is a general labor shortage in the United States or a shortage of less-educated workers.



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