Report: 4X As Many Native, Low-Skilled Men Not Participating in Workforce Than Immigrant Counterparts

By Penny Starr | September 29, 2016 | 4:24pm EDT



Political scientist Charles Murray.

( Starr)

( – A report by public policy analyst Jason Richwine about the effects of low-skilled immigrants on the U.S. native worker with the same skill set revealed that four times as many of those natives have dropped out of the workforce.

“Among natives without a high school degree, the fraction who were neither working nor looking for work rose from 26 percent in 1992 to 35 percent in 2015,” the report states. “Over the same period, the fraction of their immigrant counterparts who were out of the labor force actually declined from 12 percent to 8 percent.”

The report, Immigrants Replace Low-Skill U.S.-Born in the Workforce, focuses on men ages 25 to 54 and concluded: “The United States has been a magnet for low-skill immigration even as low-skill natives have worked less and less. This does not necessarily imply that immigrants push out natives from the workforce, but it does mean that immigrants replace natives, causing economic and social distress in the communities most affected.

“As natives leave the workforce – whether because of competition from immigrants, insufficient wages, overreliance on welfare, distaste for manual labor, or some other reason – employers turn increasingly to immigrants.”

At a panel discussion about Richwine’s report, hosted earlier this week by the Center for Immigration Studies at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., experts called for a temporary halt to the flow of low-skilled immigrants into the United States.

Charles Murray, a political scientist and the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said that while he has always seen the advantages of a global economy, he has come to the recent conclusion that the United States must make its citizens a priority when it comes to immigration policy, specifically the influx of low-skilled immigrants.

“I want to shut down low-skill immigration for a while,” Murray said, calling it a “grand experiment.”

“And I want to shut it down – and I say for a while because it may not work,” Murray said. “It may not work. The notion is this: We will have no good way of knowing how employers will respond until the spigot is cut off.”

“We will have no really good way of knowing the extent to which you will get feedback loops that will un-demoralize a lot of the people who are out of the labor force,” Murray said, adding that if these men were no longer competing with immigrants they may be more likely to seek employment.

Prof. Amy Wax. (

Penny Starr) 

“There will always be low-skilled people,” said Amy Wax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School whose work addresses issues in social welfare law and policy, as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets.

“They will always be there, just like the poor will always be there,” Wax said. “And by bringing in sort of fresh replacement troops – I am completely in favor of shutting down low-skilled immigration – the elites really are operating in bad faith.”

“They are essentially saying: ‘We don’t care about these people and we are not willing to give them a fair chance, perhaps at the cost of paying higher prices,’” said Wax.

“There are going to be some changes that will have to be made in society,” she said. “But, you know, we love the cheap labor.”

“It’s great for us,” she said. “But it is not great for our society in the long term.”

Other findings of the report include:

·  Native-born high school dropouts worked an average of 1,391 hours (the equivalent of about 35 full-time weeks) per year between 2003 and 2015, while immigrant dropouts worked 1,955 hours (or 49 full-time weeks) per year.

·  Native-born dropouts have seen their work time decline from 41 equivalent full-time weeks in the 2003-2005 period to 32 weeks in 2012-2015, while immigrant dropouts declined only from 52 weeks to 50 weeks.

·  While natives fell from 56 percent of the nation's high school dropouts to 52 percent, their share of the labor performed by all dropouts declined much faster — from 50 percent in the 2003-2005 period to 40 percent in 2012-2015.

·  Among men with more than a high school degree, there are no significant differences in work time between immigrants and natives.

MRC Store