Nevada is friendly turf. According to the Census Bureau, more than 27 percent of Nevada’s population is Hispanic and they provided a welcoming, supportive audience. Tens of thousands of Nevada’s illegal aliens work in the state’s major industries, hotels and casinos, even though those are jobs Americans would willingly do. [Hundreds Hit Vegas Streets for Immigration Reform, by Timothy Pratt, Las Vegas Sun, May 1, 2009]
But there’s the paradox. Nevada’s 10.2 unemployment rate is the highest in the United States; Las Vegas has a 10.4 unemployment rate. In that sense, Nevada was a horrible selection for Obama to announce that he insists that every alien be given citizenship and, as part of the bargain, work authorization.
While 2,000 Obama admirers in the Del Sol High School crowd cheered wildly, countless other unemployed Nevadans stayed home and stewed. Many readers who commented on a Las Vegas Journal-Review account of Obama’s speech expressed dismay and disappointment. Their sentiments echoed most Americans feelings—that United States citizens and legal immigrants’ needs should trump alien advocacy. [Obama Outlines Three Principles for Immigration Reform, by Laura Meyers, Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 29, 2012]
But today, the Nevada unemployment picture is grimmer than ever. New Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicated that when discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs and underemployed part-timers who would prefer full-time jobs are included, Nevada’s 2012 jobless rate (referred to as the U-6) soared to 20.3 percent. California registered 19.3 percent.
According to Steve Brown, University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, the state is still woefully behind in its jobs recovery. Although employers added 31,100 positions between December 2010 and December 2012, that total represents only 18 percent of the 175,000 Nevada jobs lost since the recession began.
Obama’s willful insistence on amnesty can only exacerbate unemployed Nevadans’ plight. Most U.S. states are experiencing the same job crisis as Nevada.
Yet despite the depressing unemployment statistics, Congress has the audacity to try to reach an accord not on real ways to create American jobs—as they all promised to do during their campaigns—but to provide amnesty and work permits to 11 million aliens.
During his speech (see it here), Obama reiterated that “the time is now.” He’s right. The “time is now” to end the Diversity Lottery, chain migration, birthright citizenship, prosecutorial discretion and deferred action for childhood arrivals as well as to stop DREAM Act and driver’s license advocacy and to pass mandatory E-Verify legislation.
Those measures would represent true immigration reform and not the phony pandering policy the administration endorses.