I don’t know of a major journalist other than Byron York continually highlighting the plight of the under- and unemployed in Barack Obama’s America.
Summarizing the findings of a new Rutgers study, York excerpted this cautionary stat:
The researchers asked people — unemployed and employed alike — about the “major causes” of joblessness. Seventy percent named “competition and cheap labor from other countries.” The next-highest number, 40 percent, blamed “illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans.” That 40 percent is more than blame Wall Street bankers (35 percent), the policies of George W. Bush (23 percent) or the policies of Barack Obama (30 percent).
“These strong and enduring concerns about globalization and fears that illegal immigrants hurt job prospects for Americans citizens are likely to make it more difficult for policymakers in Washington, DC to negotiate free-trade agreements and reform immigration laws,” the report concludes, in what is probably a serious understatement.
Whether this perception is correct or not, Republicans in Congress need to take care how they handle immigration reform. As I wrote last week, conservatives like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies make a strong case that increasing the legal labor supply when jobs are scarce hurts native workers. If Republicans are seen as complicit in increasing the Democrats voting base and hurting job prospects for working class citizens, the party will have no one to blame but its leadership for its dwindling popularity.