HOLDEN – Too many workers. Not enough jobs. What to do? Politicians and business elites want to create new jobs with borrowed money, but this solution has downsides.

It threatens our credit with foreign lenders; and in the long term, it heaps more debt on our children.

A less-costly but rarely mentioned solution concerns protecting and reclaiming American jobs. Globalists may shudder at the words “American” and “protecting,” but let’s consider this idea anyway.

Even before the recession, Americans were losing jobs in two ways: 1) the outsourcing of jobs abroad and 2) the “in-sourcing” of foreign workers. Either way, the job goes to a lower-wage foreign worker.

Neither party has a plan to reduce the outsourcing of good-paying jobs. And most of the jobs we are currently creating do not match the pay, the hours or the benefits of the 8.75 million jobs lost in the recession.

In other words, the United States is not creating the kind of jobs that will boost spending that fuels our economy.

Republicans, however, have a plan for reclaiming jobs taken by millions of illegal workers, and freeing those jobs up for unemployed Americans. The irony of the Republican plan is that it seeks what Democrats have advocated for years: going after unlawful employers.

House Republicans are currently lining up behind legislation that requires all employers to use E-verify, an electronic system, that instantly determines the eligibility of most workers. The practice was just approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in ruling on an Arizona statute requiring it there.

E-verify is accurate, fair, cost effective and simple to use. But Democrats are torn, and their big tent is problematic. Democrats want to be seen as the pro-worker party, standing up to greedy employers, and championing the cause of minorities and the poor.

But on the other hand, they don’t want illegal immigrants to lose their jobs and go home. Democrats want to provide another pathway to citizenship, i.e. amnesty No. 8, for the mostly Hispanic illegal workers and their families, who will naturally gravitate to the Democratic Party.

Democratic leadership sees their future in the exploding growth of Hispanic voters. Not surprisingly, President Obama’s most recent immigration speech said nothing about E-verify or a plan to penalize greedy employers.

But what is the right thing to do? And whose job should come first? Most illegal immigrants are not picking fruit or doing “jobs Americans won’t do.” That slogan is a lie.

Eight million illegal immigrants hold American jobs, and 7 million are in construction, manufacturing, service and repair, and transportation.

The overwhelming majority of workers currently employed in each of these fields are native-born Americans. In short, Americans want these jobs, and they deserve them.

With E-verify legislation, we could bypass a federal government that has flatly refused to enforce immigration laws over multiple administrations. And it would be exceedingly difficult for President Obama to veto this legislation.

Who would take these jobs? The unemployment rate for native-born blacks with the same skill set as most illegal workers was a whopping 40.7 percent last August, and it was 36 percent for native-born Hispanics.

Minorities, the working poor and the young are undeniably hit harder than any other groups in this recession. They desperately need those jobs.

Time after time, when the federal government raided big illegal immigrant employers during the last years of the Bush administration, native-born workers, mostly minorities and refugees, lined up to take those jobs, and the hourly wages increased.

This pattern was repeated in multiple companies: Crider Poultry in Georgia, Howard Industries in Mississippi, Swift Meats in Colorado, and Smithfield Foods in North Carolina, to name a few. The notion that employers cannot survive without illegal workers is false.

With E-verify legislation, the United States could reclaim millions of jobs for our poorest and most vulnerable citizens. No other jobs plan comes even close to generating this many jobs at so little cost and so much savings for taxpayers.

E-verify was recommended to Congress by President Clinton’s U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. More than 238,000 employers are already using E-verify voluntarily; a thousand new employers sign up every week, and the Obama administration requires all federal contractors to use it.

But will Democrats face down self-serving ethnic and business lobbies in their party, put American workers first, and join Republicans in passing mandatory E-verify, reclaiming American jobs?

Or will they try to force another massive amnesty and blame Republicans for being anti-immigrant?

– Special to the Press Herald