During February’s first week, alarming news came out of Washington, D.C., and from the Texas-Mexico border. Although the January Bureau of Labor Statistics report and the increased border activity are separated by 1,800 miles, the two events will inevitably be tied to each other.
The BLS report which showed that the economy created a meager 49,000 jobs, well below the 103,000 estimate, was widely publicized. BLS also revised downward the November and December job numbers, and noted that the combined employment for those two months was 159,000 less than previously indicated. Corporations slashed nearly 80,000 employees from their payrolls. Although the Biden administration likes to suggest that COVID-19 is the primary cause of the layoffs, market experts identify a longer-term problem — demand downturn and permanent corporate restructuring.
On the same day BLS released its jobs findings, Customs and Border Patrol announced it had within hours identified two large illegal alien groups at the border that totaled 253. Included were family units and unaccompanied minors. President Biden’s administration has redefined family units to mean virtually any adults with minor children, not necessarily the children’s parents.
In a separate action, CBP took 11 Iranians into custody, an event involving a Special Interest Country that agents describe as routine. For the agents, all days are busy ones. During a single 24-hour period, as many as 3,500 migrants attempt border crossings. Motivating the renewed border surges is President Biden’s commitment to a large-scale amnesty, and reinstating catch and release. Unlike the BLS report, the establishment media had nothing to say about the border crisis.
More migrants that successfully enter the U.S. means that eventually more employment authorization documents will be issued, and the uphill climb for U.S. job seekers will become steeper. And since the majority of migrants that CBP releases into the U.S. are low-skilled and low-income, their negative effect on the domestic labor market will predominantly hurt similarly low-skilled, low-income Americans, mostly black and Hispanic.
Beyond the BLS headline story about the economy’s feeble 49,000 job creation lies more troubling news about the nation’s perilous economic condition. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey data released in January showed that about 90 million Americans said that “it was somewhat or very difficult for their household to pay for usual expenses in the last seven days.”
Since late August, the figure has risen by 13 million adults. Moreover, an estimated 14 million renters reported they’re behind on their monthly rent payments, a figure that has exceeded 11 million in every Census Bureau data release since August. Food security is a particularly acute problem. About 14 percent of adults that the Census Bureau surveyed from December 9–21 said that, in the last week, their households sometimes or often didn’t get enough to eat, significantly higher than the 3 percent who reported in an earlier survey that their household had “not enough to eat” at some point over the full 12 months of 2019.
In part, the widespread hardships reflected expired jobless benefits and stimulus checks whose effect had worn out by December. Consequently, the Biden administration hopes that Congress will pass a $1.9 trillion relief package that will send $1,400 checks to suffering Americans, the third round of federal payments. As of February 4, the national debt stood at $27.8 trillion, or about $84,000 per person. Huge COVID relief bills will push those U.S. debt totals ever-higher.
There’s more bad news. The Economic Policy Institute wrote that, in mid-January, 1.3 million people filed for initial unemployment insurance claims which marked the 43rd straight week that such claims exceeded the Great Recession’s worst week.
Millions of Americans are suffering. Neither President Biden nor immigration advocates can proffer an intellectually sound argument to open the borders or to pass an amnesty that rewards illegal immigrants with lifetime valid employment authorization documents. Instead, the Biden administration is relentlessly pursuing a morally vapid, indefensible immigration agenda that hurts a wide swath of fraught Americans.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.