The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers

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[Excerpt] The United States Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) is pleased to transmit this report, The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and Employment Opportunities of Black Workers. A panel of experts briefed members of the Commission on April 4, 2008 regarding the evidence for economic loss and job opportunity costs to black workers attributable to illegal immigration. The panelists also described non-economic factors contributing to the depression of black wages and employment rates. Based on that discussion, the Commission developed the findings and recommendation that are included in this report. Among its findings, the Commission notes that the illegal workers are estimated to account for as much as one-third of total immigrants in the United States, and that illegal immigration has tended to increase the supply of low-skilled, low-wage labor available. The Commission found also that about six in 10 adult black males have a high school diploma or less, and are disproportionately employed in the low-skilled labor market in likely competition with immigrants. Evidence for negative effects of such competition ranged from modest to significant, according to the experts who testified, but even those experts who viewed the effects as modest overall found significant effects in occupations such as meatpacking and construction. The Commission views this topic as complex, and therefore makes no specific recommendations at this time. The Commission recommends generally, however, that the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other appropriate governmental agencies collect data concerning the presence of illegal workers in the U.S. workforce and on the employment and wage rate effects of such workers on low-skilled and low-wage workers of all races. The Commission believes that such data should be made available to the public.
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civil rights; illegal immigration; employment; black workers; wages; public policy
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