Can we expect an immigration revamp in Obama’s first 100 days?

According to NPR, it’s not likely, and if nothing else that’s because of the economy. Labor economist Vernon Briggs of Cornell University says it’s harder to argue for legalizing millions of low-skilled immigrants when many more low-skilled Americans are likely to find themselves out of work.

“The unemployment rates for unskilled workers without high school diplomas, or only a high school diploma, are the highest in the United States,” says Briggs. “There’s no indication that our labor force is in desperate need of unskilled, poorly educated, non-English speaking workers.”
Supporters of legalization see it differently, arguing that the best way to make sure immigrants do not pose an unfair threat to American workers is to make the immigrants legal. But even ardent immigrant advocates admit the economic collapse does change something else.

Still, even if there’s no support for bringing in new workers, there is an argument for legalizing agricultural workers already in the United States. Seventy percent of them are believed to be undocumented, and he says these jobs do not disappear in a bad economy.

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