Americans have been flooded with new jobs plans over the last week, with presidential candidates presenting their ideas and President Obama providing an outline of his version in a prime-time address to Congress last night. But hours before Obama’s speech, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R) took to the House floor to tell both Republicans and Democrats that they were overthinking the jobs issue. Brooks’ “surefire” plan to jumpstart the economy, he said, was to kick out all undocumented immigrants so Americans can have their jobs.
BROOKS: There is a surefire way to create jobs now for American citizens: evict all illegal aliens from America and open up millions of jobs for American citizens. That also forces blue-collar wages up, helping American families afford and pursue the American dream. Unfortunately, the White House chases a different dream — a nightmare that pits unemployed Americans against illegal aliens in a competition for scarce jobs.
Watch it, courtesy of Media Matters:
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The math behind this plan is simple, Brooks argued. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were 8.3 million undocumented immigrants working in America in 2008, and there are currently about 14 million unemployed Americans. The problem is, the math doesn’t work the way Brooks assumes it does. In fact, economists and labor market experts have reached a consensus that immigrants create at least as many jobs as they occupy and are actually a net benefit to the economy, as the money they make and goods they buy leads to economic growth, a fact acknowledged by former President George W. Bush. According to the Economic Policy Institute, immigrant workers actually have a “small but positive” effect on the wages of native born workers.
Unemployed Alabamians, of which there are plenty, didn’t fill thousands of jobs left open when immigrants fled the state after it passed the nation’s most radical anti-immigration law. Instead, Alabama’s agricultural and construction industries have reported drastic labor shortages, leading to financial problems in agriculture and delays in disaster relief due to construction shortages. But the fact that his discriminatory and xenophobic jobs plan wouldn’t work doesn’t matter to Brooks, an anti-immigration radical who earlier this year said he would “do anything short of shooting” immigrants to keep them out of Alabama.