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Apparent President-elect Joe Biden emphatically and repeatedly told the nation that he’s determined to increase the flow of immigrants to America – whether we’re talking about his promises that will greatly strengthen the immigration magnet (like creating a “roadmap to citizenship” for America’s illegal alien population, tightly curbing immigation law enforcement activities, and offering free government-funded healthcare to anyone who can manage to cross the border lawfully or not), or his promises to boost admissions of refugees, speed systems for processing applications for asylum and (legal) green card applications, and generally “to ensure that the U.S. remains open and welcoming to people from every part of the world….”

During normal recent times such pledges – and the fallout of pre-Trump efforts to keep them – had proven troublesome enough for the U.S. economy and for working class Americans in particular. Inevitably, they pumped up the supply of labor available to U.S.-based businesses, and created surpluses that enabled companies to cut wages with the greatest of ease – exactly as the laws of supply and demand predict.

During the CCP Virus pandemic and its likely economic aftermath, however, this quasi-Open Borders strategy looks positively demented, as emerging trends most recently described by New York Times economics writer Eduardo Porter should make painfully obvious.

According to Porter in a December 1 piece, “The [U.S.] labor market has recovered 12 million of the 22 million jobs lost from February to April. But many positions may not return any time soon, even when a vaccine is deployed.

This is likely to prove especially problematic for millions of low-paid workers in service industries like retailing, hospitality, building maintenance and transportation, which may be permanently impaired or fundamentally transformed. What will janitors do if fewer people work in offices? What will waiters do if the urban restaurant ecosystem never recovers its density?”

What’s the connection with immigration policy? As it happens, the service industries the author rightly identifies as sectors apparently vulnerable to major employment downsizing are industries that historically have employed outsized shares of immigrant workers (including illegals). And along with other personal service industries, they’re kinds of sectors whose modest skill requirements would continue to offer newcomers overall their best bets for employment.

The charts below, from the Pew Research Center, show just how thoroughly dominated by both kinds of immigrants these sectors, and present similar data broken down by occupation. (The U.S. Department of Labor tracks employment according to both kinds of categories.)

Twenty years ago, in my book The Race to the Bottom, I wrote about news reports making clear that

“immigrants were flooding into California in hopes of landing jobs in labor-intensive industries such a apparel and electronics assembly that NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] had steadily been sending to Mexico — where most of the immigrants come from! In other words, the state was importing people while exporting their likeliest jobs.” 

And not surprisingly, wages throughout the southern California in particular stagnated.  

If a Biden administration proceeds with its stated immigration plans as quickly as it’s promised (with many actions scheduled for the former Vice President’s first hundred days in office), this epic blunder will wind up being repeated — but this time on a national scale.