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OPINION

If The Democrats Were Really Committed to Workers, They’d Support The Wall

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

If the Democrats truly stood for protecting the interests of American workers, they’d be clamoring to fund border security.

Once a self-proclaimed champion of the working class, the Democrat Party of today is but a shadow of its former self, loyal to the only remaining principle in its thinning book of values: obstruction.

Sure, the Democrats still occasionally mention American workers in their talking points, promising to redistribute wealth and increase taxes on the rich, but they have long since shifted their primary focus to other constituencies, such as wealthy elitists who are consumed with worry about global warming and young people who seek to eradicate unpleasantness by strictly regulating personal behavior.

The Party has also become more welcoming of socialists more recently, idolizing the likes of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom inflame class-based resentments at every opportunity.

“I’m not running from the left; I’m running from the bottom,” Ocasio-Cortez said during her campaign. “I’m running in fierce advocacy for working-class New Yorkers.”

Those passionate words, however, are just another example of the empty rhetoric that has driven so many working men and women into the arms of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Fed up with the repeated failure of the Democrats’ economic policies to deliver the panacea that workers had been promised, they’re now embracing an approach that’s much more likely to deliver the prosperity they’ve been denied for so long.

It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump won the presidency with the support of former Democrat voters in the Rust Belt, who were desperate for solutions to our failing economy and immigration policies that sapped jobs from middle America.

The effect illegal immigration has on the U.S. labor market is not a closely guarded secret — numerous economic studies confirm that illegal aliens have an overwhelmingly negative effect on both the employment prospects and the wages of low-skilled American workers. 

“Low-paid American workers have borne the heaviest impact of immigration,” the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) concluded in 2007, pointing out that the influx of illegal immigrants with little to no education leads to lower wages and fewer jobs for Americans who are already near the bottom of the economic ladder.

“Between 2000 and 2005, the number of jobless natives (age 18 to 64) with no education beyond a high school degree increased by over two million, to 23 million,” the think tank observed, noting that the number of less-educated immigrants “grew [by] 1.5 million” during the same time period.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reached a similar conclusion in its chilling2013 report, estimating that around 8.5 million jobs have been taken by illegal aliens across America. This not only forces citizens onto the unemployment rolls, it also reduces the incomes of those lucky enough to hold onto their jobs.

“Illegal aliens come to the United States to take jobs that offer them greater opportunity, and they are often welcomed by U.S. employers who are able to hire them for wages lower than they would have to pay to hire U.S. workers,” the report explains. 

In response to this criticism, liberals frequently argue that illegal immigrants do the jobs that “Americans won’t do” — but this evasive rebuttal has no basis in fact.

What are these illusive jobs that Americans supposedly refuse to do? Are there no American workers in construction and manufacturing? Are there no American workers in agriculture and landscaping? Are there no American custodians, cleaners and chefs? 

According to a 2018 CIS report, 99 percent of all U.S. occupations, including janitors, construction laborers, grounds maintenance crews, meat processors, chauffeurs, and housekeepers are occupied by a majority of U.S.-born workers. 

Americans clearly want to do all of these jobs — but they stand no chance against a rapidly expanding supply of cheap labor produced by illegal immigration.

The problem is further compounded by the very economic policies that Democrats use to lure in working-class voters. When politicians raise the minimum wage, for instance, the demand for cheap labor skyrockets and the appeal of illegal immigration grows. Similarly, the myriad welfare programs Democrats have instituted over the years make this country even more attractive to low-skill illegal immigrants, who collectively consume an estimated $116 billion per year in federal benefits. 

If the Democrats are truly determined to protect the working class, they should be fighting for border security right alongside President Trump. Unfortunately for American workers, the Democrat Party is determined to do the opposite. 

Herman Cain is former CEO of the National Restaurant Association and a former presidential candidate.

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